When five brothers move into the abandoned mansion next door, Sophie Gracewell's life changes forever. Irresistibly drawn to bad boy Nic, Sophie finds herself falling into an underworld governed by powerful families. When Sophie's own family skeletons come to life, she must choose between two warring dynasties - the one she was born into, and the one she is falling in love with. When she does, blood will spill and hearts will break ...
I attended Catherine Doyle's brilliant workshop at YALC and I knew I had to read Vendetta when she described it as 'Romeo and Juliet meets Goodfellas'.
I don't think I've ever read a YA book linked to the mafia before and 'Vendetta' captured the darkness of this world perfectly. There was a strong sense of building tension as Sophie tried to work out how she fit in with the dangerous criminal underworld.
Recently, I haven't been a fan of romance in YA because I'm tired of books retreading the same boy meets girl pattern. Although I could see where this aspect of the book was going to some extent, I found this the most compelling YA romance that I've read for a long time. I really rooted for Sophie and Nic and enjoyed some fresh twists and turns in the forbidden romance trope.
One of my favourite parts of this book was how it dealt with morality, in terms of how characters' actions affect how others perceive them. Without giving anything away, I found it really interesting how my opinions shifted as the book progressed.
Another really strong part of 'Vendetta' is the writing style. Catherine Doyle's writing is often described as cinematic and in the workshop she explained that her love of movies influences her. I could definitely see this in the believable dialogue and tight pacing of the book.
I really loved this and I've just ordered the sequel! I strongly recommend everyone to buy it (if you haven't already) and that you go for the real life book - did you see those stained pages?
If you liked the sound of this, now try Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles.