- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Amulet Books (Oct 2011)
- Language English
- ISBN-10: 0810984202
- ISBN-13: 978-0810984202
Danny Lopez is new in town. He made a mistake back home in Las Vegas, and now he has landed at an experimental school in Colorado for “tough cases.” At the Cobalt Charter School, everything is scripted—what the teachers say, what the students reply—and no other speaking is allowed. This supercontrolled environment gives kids a second chance to make something of themselves. But with few freedoms, the students become sitting ducks for a killer determined to “clean up” Colorado Springs.
Initially, Deviant starts off seeming like a story about an angry kid, forced to move from a neighbourhood he was only just settling into. Danny is angry about a lot of things – his hippy/posh step-dad Walt, who insists he call him Dad, his Mom who got a new job, the move to a part of the country that can only be described as the polar opposite of what he is used to. Danny grew up in
East L.A. before he was moved to Vegas. Now he is in , replacing desert sand for snow. Lots and lots of snow. Colorado
Danny reads like an average fourteen year old boy – angry at the world, becoming interested in the girl across the street, hating his new school. Only when you scratch the surface of this book and delve a little into its pages does its true nature appear. At the heart of it, Deviant is a mystery and a horror story about evil in the world and serial killers. And with correctional institutions after correctional institutions very close by, there isn’t exactly a shortage of them in Danny’s new hometown.
Little does Danny know, there is more to worry about than the weird new school rules he has to abide by, or how he is going to adjust to the bitter cold of
. Something weird is going on in his new town. Someone is taking cats. And sacrificing them. Colorado
At his new school, Danny is quickly targeted. He is protected by an elite group who manage to find ways around the strictly enforced school rules. And his new friends are very interested in what is going on with all the neighbourhood cats.
Deviant is primarily a mystery story but it has so many other elements thrown in. Great suspense, the blossoms of first love, the acceptance of the hand that fate has dealt us. What struck me as the greatest surprise was how much Danny himself grew on me. In the beginning he seemed like any other petulant teen boy – rude to everyone and never apologising for his passive aggressive attitude. But as the story and the mystery unfolds, so does Danny. He becomes a sympathetic character who only wants to have his old home life back, and when it is clear that isn’t going to happen, he fiercely protects the new one he has. Danny is a selfless character, with a brave heart and a very likeable nature.
Deviant is left wide open for a sequel – and I sincerely hope there will be one! This is a great book for anyone who wants a good mystery or who enjoys YA.