Posted by: Natalie Hatch | September 6, 2010

This is Shyness by Leanne Hall.

Leanne is the winner of the 2009 Text Publishing Prize, so you know already that this story has been through the wringer and come out fabulous. Leanne has used a broad brushstroke of imagination to link our world to a dark fantastical side. Here’s the blurb:

A guy who howls. A girl on a mission to forget.

In the suburb of Shyness, where the sun doesn’t rise and the border crackles with a strange energy, Wolfboy meets a stranger at the Diabetic Hotel. She tells him her name is Wildgirl, and she dares him to be her guide through the endless night.

But then they are mugged by the sugar-crazed Kidds. And what plays out is moving, reckless…dangerous. There are things that can only be said in the dark. And one long night is time enough to change your life.

It took a little while for me to adjust to the fantastical nature of this story. It really could come under the Urban Fantasy banner, and while there’s not a strict romance plot line Leanne has melded in teenage hormones and heartbreaks to satisfy even the fussiest of readers.

I like Wolfboy, can give or take Wildgirl. Wolfboy won my heart when he lost control of  his emotions and howled in a nightclub (can’t tell you more without giving things away). He’s a guy who’s life is stuffed up and he’s trying to deal with it the best way he knows how. That is until Wildgirl tumbles into his life and he finds himself tumbling right along with her.

Leanne has a subtle way with words that pulls you into the hero/heroines world and you really get an understanding of all the back story that’s made them who they are. I started reading this book thinking it was one thing and ended up pleasantly surprised by the end. Well done Leanne, can’t wait for your next book.

This is Shyness is available now.

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