Title: White Rabbit, Red Wolf
Author: Tom Pollock
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Teen/young adult, Thriller – psychological
Book format: Paperback
Sweet Strawberries: Sweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet Strawberry

Description: Seventeen-year-old Pete Blankman is a maths prodigy.  He also suffers from severe panic attacks.  He takes refuge in the love and support of his family, but his life is crippled by fear.
Then, the unthinkable hapens.  Pete discovers that his mother has been stabbed and his twin sister, Bel, missing.  Dragged into a world of espionage and violence where state and family secrets intertwine, can Pete’s exceptional skills and instincts save him?

*Free copy proviced by publisher for review…

Review:  Well, this was an interesting and exciting story although I’m not so sure about the ending. ‘White Rabbit Red Wolf’ follows the story of seventeen year old Peter Blankman, a teenager who’s a maths genius but also suffers from mental health problems. The tale begins with Peter’s crippling fear overwhelming him as he hides in a cupboard and the consequences for him and his family are shown right at the start.

As Pete tries to deal with his fear, his mum supporting him, the family end up going to an awards ceremony where something terrible happens which leaves his mum hurt and unconscious, and his sister, Bel, missing. The book has been called a psychological thriller and it definitely does have lots of twists that make you question what is really going on throughout the story. Pete’s a regular teenager, albeit one that’s constantly counting and constantly afraid, but the story progresses into a dark place where he finds himself on the run from authorities while also trying to find his sister.

The book is split into three parts, and each part has chapters that alternate between what is happening now and what’s happening in the past. I liked the back and forth between these two stories as it gave a good insight into what’s happening now and in some cases even giving answers as to why certain actions were or weren’t taken. The chapters from the past don’t follow a chronological order, instead they show what’s necessary to advance the present plot. I like this book for showing Pete, the main character, as well as another charcter, having some mental health problems, in this case crippling anxiety (fear) and OCD (obssessive compulsive disorder). The book portrays the two issues well, and I like the way that the chracters have these problems but also overcome them to continue through the story.

This book is very dark in its content. There is a stabbing near the start of the story and it progressively gets darker, especially in the second half of the book where there are more deaths and quite detailed descriptions of blood and dead bodies. The book focuses more on Pete and what is happening to him, but I will say that if you are not a fan of death and violence in stories then this won’t be a book for you, in fact I’d only recommend this book to older teens above given how dark things are. There is also swearing – regular use of the f word – and the very occassional mentions of more sexual (though not actual sex) content.

The ending is interesting. The build up towards the end and the final chapters reveal twists that are so good! You end up questioning things that happened in the story and there’s a brilliant double twist right at the end. On some level I enjoyed this but on another, I didn’t as the story doesn’t really have a satisfying ending to it. You never really know whether something is true or not at the end and I don’t like the lack of knowing what will now happen to the main characters, the story just finishes, which feels a bit weird and just not as satisfying as I had hoped.

I’m not really sure what to say about this book, overall I did enjoy it and I do enjoy books with big twists and I don’t mind a dark plot either, but something about this story just wasn’t as exciting as I had expected. There has been so much hype about this book and while it does do a good job of making you question the twists and it is a good thriller, I just never felt as engaged with the story as I wanted to be. I’m not sure why but I never felt as connected to the main character as I usually am with books and I didn’t feel much for his sister either. I’d still recommend this if you want to read something thrillling with lots of twists and turns, it’s certainly a very different novel, but it is a very dark story and I’m not sure everybody, especially younger teens, will enjoy it.

Do you enjoy phsychological thrillers?  What about books that have characters with mental health problems?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂