Ugly Young Thing
By Jennifer Jaynes
Published by Thomas & Mercer (3 March 2015)
Sixteen-year-old Allie has already experienced a lifetime of horror, having lost her mother and serial killer brother to mental illness.
Returning to her childhood home in Louisiana, Allie ends up in foster care and is placed with Miss Bitty, an eccentric but kindly older women who shoes her a new direction and brighter future.
But Allie's new life takes a devastating turn when young women in the area start turning up dead, and she begins to see shadowy figures outside her bedroom. As Miss Bitty grows inexplicably distant, a nagging voice makes Allie wonder if death has found her yet again… or if it never really left her at all.
Ugly Young Thing is the sequel to Never Smile at Strangers, which I considered to be an excellent thriller. Although Ugly Young Thing contains references to the first book, it can easily be read as a standalone novel.
Allie is a teenager with a tainted past. Her mother was a mentally ill prostitute who killed several people and her brother was a disturbed murderer. After witnessing her brother's suicide, she runs away from the crime scene, hoping to start a new life for herself. In desperation, she eventually returns to her home town and is fostered by Miss Bitty.
In her home town, there is a killer on the loose, and young girls are being targeted. Allie feels that she is being watched. Miss Bitty is determined to keep Allie safe, but the elderly woman has secrets of her own.
Ugly Young Thing is full of mystery and intrigue. Jennifer Jaynes's words flow smoothly and are a pleasure to read. She gets emotions spot on - whether it's the way people look, act or behave - and delivers dialogue and action with ease. I couldn't put it down and the ending was completely unexpected.
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
My review of Never Smile at Strangers: http://off-the-shelfbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/never-smile-at-strangers.html