Unleashed : A Life and Death Job by Ali Sparkes

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Unleashed : A Life and Death Job by Ali Sparkes
Buy Unleashed : A Life and Death Job from Amazon.co.uk

Buy Unleashed : A Life and Death Job from Amazon.com

Genre: Teens
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: A new series about what happens when Britain's most important and secret assets - teenagers with paranormal abilities - get a week's holiday. In book one, Lisa gets involved with kidnapping and assassination attempts. And she only wanted to go shopping at Harvey Nicks!
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 240 Date: May 2011
Publisher: OUP Oxford
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 0192756060

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For those of you who don't Lisa from Ali Sparkes's immensely popular Shapeshifter series, she's a medium, a dowser and a telepath. Thanks to the strength of her abilities, she's been taken on by COLA, a top secret cadre of teenagers with paranormal abilities. The COLAs are Britain's most important, most secret asset. Rich and a tad spoiled, Lisa had some troubles adjusting to this new life - but even she has to admit that what she has learned has probably saved her sanity. The dead just won't leave her alone.

In this new series, we catch up with Lisa and fellow COLA Mia just as they've been given a week's holiday in London. Aside from two secret service minders, the girls are free to enjoy shopping, shopping and more shopping, and they just can't wait.

But it wouldn't be an Ali Sparkes book if all went well, would it? And no sooner has Lisa met a girl even more rich and spoiled than she is - think Paris Hilton - than she's mixed up in a kidnapping and assassination attempt. It's going to take all Lisa's supernatural talent and some help from a despised but very fanciable celebrity psychic to get her out of this one alive...

You have to like Ali Sparkes books. They're unashamedly good-hearted, energetic and vivid and they speak very directly to the thoughts and preoccupations of their target audience. No, I don't believe in the paranormal and yes, the plots are dafter than Doctor Who plots, but who cares? They're fun! And Sparkes is very clever because her characters are so grounded in reality. They might be busy shape-shifting, talking to the dead, and saving the world, but they're worried about pimples, obsessed with fashion, and bolshy on the outside but scared and insecure on the inside. They're instantly recognisable.

Light, escapist fiction at its most enjoyable.

My thanks to the good people at OUP for sending the book.

If paranormal adventure is their bag, I think they'd also enjoy the Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong. It's got werewolves!

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