Title: The Explosionist
Author: Jenny Davidson
Release Date: July 2008
Published By: Harper Teen
Goodreads Rating: 3.42 stars
Review: Fifteen-year-old Sophie attends a boarding school in the hope of going to university to explore her love of science. But the Scotland in this alternate version of history is on the brink of war in the 1930s, where terrorist attacks are all too common. Her great-aunt is the founder of IRLYNS, an agency for young women to contribute to the war, but something is off - very off, and as she untangles the web of secrets, Sophie's life may be in danger.
To be quite honest, I did not really expect to enjoy this book too much because, let's face it, we all judge books by their cover. However, once I (literally) got past the cover, I found myself confronted with a pleasant surprise. THE EXPLOSIONIST is a book that is, quite simply, impossible to put down. These 464 pages went by like nothing, and even when I was forced to put the book down, I kept finding my thoughts returning to it, trying to work the mystery and wondering what was going to happen next.
In fact, one of the main reasons this book was so hard to put down was because of how awesome the mystery itself was. Unlike what happens in some other novels, this mystery was far from predictable, and the looming dangers only made the suspense level ratchet up even higher. There was a combination of spiritualism, mediums, shrouded agencies, and of course, handsome boys, to make this a real page-turner.
I also found myself really relating to the protagonist. The cliche of a girl in historical fiction attempting to pursue a love of science despite the male domination of the field can be overdone, but in this case, Sophie's personality and aspirations felt utterly genuine. She was brave, intelligent, and quite unlike many other heroines featured in other books.
All in all, THE EXPLOSIONIST is a book that leaves you tearing through the pages all the way to the very end. Even after I finished it, I still wanted to know what would happen next, but in a good way. The protagonist was relatable, the writing was of top-notch quality, and the mystery is simply un-put-down-able. I would recommend this novel to everyone.