Struck, Stung and Shaken are a fantastic series which combines elements of several different genres – YA, detective/thriller stories and romantic suspense. I first read Struck when it was short listed for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s RoNA Awards (it won the overall award of Romantic Novel of the Year – the first ever YA book to do that!) and I have recently read the two sequels.
Featuring a fictional academy for young trainee detectives, the YDA, it’s a bit like Harry Potter meets CSI. No magic involved but the students are divided into four groups, all with specific skill sets that help them work together to solve mysteries and crime. They are so good at it they are allowed to work alongside adult police teams and organisations like MI6 and the FBI. Of course – this being fiction – the teenagers usually save the day.
I absolutely loved the first one, Struck – being a romance junkie I definitely got my fix when the geekiest (but still hot) guy possible fell in love for the first time in his life when he attends a boarding school undercover for a while so he can investigate some weird goings-on among the students. He meets his match in a sassy American girl and it was a hugely fun read. The suspense and mystery at the heart of the story kept me turning the pages too.
Stung was a bit different – more like a James Bond film where the bad guys (an Indonesian mafia type gang called the Scorpions) are hunting the heroine because they think she has vital information that could take their organization down. They want her dead or alive, and the hero together with his pals from the YDA step in to try and save her (even though initially she doesn’t actually want their help). There was plenty of chemistry between the hero and heroine, as well as real danger with some seriously nasty villains. I couldn’t wait for them to get their come-uppance!
If I had to choose though, I think Shaken is probably my favourite because the love story in this one fairly sizzles. The hero is a player who wants to ‘sample widely’ (his words) rather than date exclusively until he meets a geek princess who surprises him at every turn. I just loved watching these two fall for each other and couldn’t wait to see how they’d outwit the bad guys in order to hopefully get their happy ending. Stories where the heroine is unconventional, intelligent and funny, but totally unaware of her own charms, are always wonderful and this one particularly so. And it was great to see the hero have to eat his words 🙂
So if you like YA books with suspense, mystery and plenty of romance, then this series is definitely for you – I loved it!
PS. Struck was also originally reviewed by Gill-Marie Stewart – you can find the review here
Pia Fenton writes contemporary romantic YA stories and her Northbrooke High series features UK heroines clashing with US heroes in an American high school setting. The fourth one in the series – New England Dreams – is now available for pre-order on Kindle.