Authors: Lisa & Laura Roecker
Publisher: Soho Teen
Publish Date: July 2, 2013
Genre: YA, Contemporary
This is W.A.R. begins with a victim who can no longer speak for herself, and whose murder blossoms into a call-to-arms. Enter four very different girls, four very different motives to avenge Willa Ames-Rowan, and only one rule to start: Destroy James Gregory and his family at any cost.Willa's initials spell the secret rallying cry that spurs the foursome to pool their considerable resources and deliver their particular brand of vigilante justice. Innocence is lost, battles are won—and the pursuit of the truth ultimately threatens to destroy them all.
Willa can't speak up for herself anymore. The time has come and gone for her to fight against the hands that held her underwater until she succumbed to the dark water and her untimely death. Now, stuck in a town run by wealth and fear, four girls will stop at nothing to avenge Willa's death. Each girl has their own reason to avenge Willa's death, and each girl has their own part to play in the Gregory family's destruction. Just how far are the willing to go to do so though?
This is not my first read from author/sister duo, Lisa and Laura Roecker. This is W.A.R. promises the same whirlwind story, teen cult mystery story and engaging characters that their previous novels have. With an engaging premise and a dynamic cast of characters, readers are promised a not so much a guessing game, but rather a telltale story of no-holds-barred revenge. From page one, This is W.A.R. pulls you in to the murky waters with the central character of the story with Willa, and we watch helplessly as she draws her last breath - giving us as much a reason as the characters to hope for righteous justice to be served.
I was immediately pulled in by the premise of this story, and the promise of another great title from the Roecker sisters who seriously delivered with The Liar Society. The book offers us a solid plot, fast-paced writing, dynamic and unique characters and a world that is so chock-full of lies, it might just make your head spin. Our first look into the world of This is W.A.R. is through Willa's eyes, though we know her death is imminent. It's just enough, however, to capture our attention and ensure our investment in the plot to avenge her death. We're then introduced to four equally unique characters; Madge is Willa's stepsister, Rose is the daughter of one of the top-ranked employees of the Club, Lina is the rich rebel, desperately seeking her parents affection and Sloane is, quite simply, dumb as a rock. Normally, I would hate these cut-and-dried stereotypes of characters, but it works because we see the story from each of their points of view. The transitions are well done, the thoughts are unique, and I felt it was a good way to access the story from different angles. However, I did find that some of the characters' POVs were weaker than others. Sloane, for example, was pretty forgettable in the end. She just seemed to almost fill the void for another character. I also had a bit of an issue with the way these girls sought revenge. Trust me, I believe they were invested in the cause for retribution, but their actions spoke differently. I expected true, raw vengeance, but instead saw the girls resort to near-petty pranks to bring down the powerful Gregory family. I guess, perhaps, I was expecting more along the lines of Amanda Clarke's win-at-all-costs type of plot from the show, Revenge. Instead, however, we see hormones slipped into drinks, "damning" pictures coming to light and payoffs left, right and center. While, yes, they're teens and it might not seem really all that plausible, but I really wanted to see them go the darker route that showed a true investment in their cause. This is W.A.R. does manage to redeem itself with the speed of the plot, the fluid prose and the dynamic premise that will, nevertheless, keep you interested.
All in all, despite being a bit let down by certain elements of the story, This is W.A.R. was a pretty solid book with great writing. I'm sure it will please a lot of readers looking for a light revenge tale. I give it a 3 out of 5, and I recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction and mysteries.