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The Trial – Laura Bates

No matter how you try to hide it, the truth will always come out . . .
 
After a plane crash sees a group of seven teens washed up on a desert island, their first thought is survival. But a terrible secret from a party the night before has followed them ashore. Facing deadly threats and the fear of being stranded forever, they quickly discover that being the most popular kid in High School doesn’t help when you’re fighting to stay alive. As the island deals each of them a dangerous blow, it’s clear that someone is looking for justice. Now survival depends on facing the truth about that party: who was hurt that night, and who let it happen?

For someone who is incredibly scared of planes, I have a very worrying interest in plane crash survival stories. So, when I saw The Trial whilst browsing my local bookshop, I immediately purchased a copy. 

The Trial tells the story of seven cheerleaders and basketball players who survive a plane crash on their way home from a competition. They end up stranded on a remote desert island where they must try and survive whilst awaiting their rescue.

I enjoyed seeing the characters use their newfound survival skills throughout the book. It was incredibly interesting to see what they picked up and how they used skills each other already had for their best interests. It was thrilling to see the characters build shelters, find safe water and food.

The characters in this book are all wildly different but somehow very similar. Before the plane crash, a lot of them were distant acquaintances and after, we get to see how they navigate life a where they are together 24/7. I enjoyed our narrator Hayley. At points she felt like she was looking over the island and reporting to us what was happening, but I enjoyed this as it gave an overview of everything that was going on. All the other characters have their own unique quirks that I will let you find out by reading!

The mystery in this book keeps you guessing until the end. When the fast-paced narrative is combined with a very cinematic atmosphere, I struggled to put this book down. It had me gasping at certain parts and it absorbed me right into the story. 

Alongside the issues that the characters face whilst trying to survive, the author also brings in topics that she is well known for discussing. This book discusses sexual consent, assault, rape, toxic masculinity, privilege, misogyny, gender identity, class and equality. These topics are incredibly important to discuss and especially in YA books. 

The way this book explores the topic of rape is excellent. It clearly shows the reader that anything that is non-consensual is rape. It also explores how girls are often told that they’re the ones at fault and the arguments surrounding this. It brings to light the discussion that we are often told as women, that we should not pursue justice because of the person’s career and reputation are more important. Also, that no one will believe us anyway. It is by talking about these things that we can hope for change, so I really appreciate Laura Bates bring this up for discussion in this book.

Overall, this is a thrilling, thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking book that I would highly recommend. I will certainly be reading more books by Laura Bates in the future too!

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