All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Disharmony – Leah Giarratano

on May 23, 2012

Leah Giarratano
Penguin AU
2012, 345p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

A psychopath. An empath. A genius.

They are supposed to be the ones who can save the world – the thousands of years of wars, tragedies and disasters. Who can restore the natural balance and peace, the way things used to be. Before.

They are siblings. Two of them are twins. They know nothing of their destiny – they don’t even know the others exist. They know nothing about the mysterious thing known as The Telling, which their destinies are tied up within. They are fast approaching a time where they will be hunted. They are useful to more people than they could ever imagine and they are about to learn all about who they are, and about each other.

Because saving the world isn’t the only possible outcome. They could also destroy it.

Disharmony is the first young adult novel from acclaimed Australian adult crime author, Leah Giarratano. Already well known for the Detective Jill Jackson series, Giarratano has tried her hand at something very, very different for her YA debut and the result is incredibly interesting. This is the first in the series and it’s fabulous at setting up the story, introducing the reader to several of the very important characters but also creating a shroud of mystery around some others. It’s one of those books where I’m going to be annoying and say ‘I don’t want to spoil it’ because I think that to write my usual detailed review would seriously detract from the experience that is reading this book knowing very little about it. All I knew was the blurb when I picked it up, which is brief to say the least. It had been talked about a little at a Penguin YA event I attended last year but mostly, the plot of this book has been a well kept secret.

The story switches between a juvenile detention centre near Windsor in Sydney’s north-west and a Roma gypsy camp near Bucharest, Romania. Luke Black is a teenager who was abandoned by his mother as a baby and bounced from one foster home to the next. He has a rap sheet a mile long and is currently serving time in the centre, targeted by one of the employees, a Mr Holt and the little band of inmates that are Holt’s personal favourites and perform all his dirty work, including beating ‘lesser’ inmates. He finds himself befriended by Zac Nguyen, a freakishly fast young kid. Together they realise it’s in their best interests to no longer be in the detention centre. I really enjoyed the sections that revolved around Luke, I found both him and his background fascinating and I was always wanting to know more about his previous foster homes and the sort of things he’d done that had landed him in the juvenile facility. His friendship with Zac was awkward and often strange, with Luke not really having much of an idea just why Zac had befriended him to possibly his own detriment and the two of them go from tentative reluctant alliance to two people on an important quest.

By contrast, Samantha White may not have known her real parents, but she has always known love. Raised by a group of Roma, with one in particular raising her as if Samantha was her own daughter. She spends her days telling fortunes to the non-Roma population and shyly crushing on Tamas, a gypsy boy in the same camp who works with the horses. I think I enjoyed the scenes set in Romania even more than the ones in Australia. The gypsy culture was so well portrayed and I could picture their campsite, the horses, their celebrations and their caravans. There’s a carnival that takes place during the book and I think it might’ve been one of my favourite scenes. It was like so many carnivals I’ve been to as a teen, overpriced rides and sideshow stalls but with a colour and atmosphere that still hooks you in, no matter how many times you’ve been before.

Disharmony is such an exciting and unique concept – it’s like nothing I’ve read and that itself makes it so interesting to me. The whole idea of these three different but connected characters, the psychopath, the empath and the genius who are so utterly unaware of their importance and their connection to each other, just going about their individual lives in different parts of the world….until they all get a serious shock. People trying to kill them, or capture them. They have to find each other and they have to learn all they can about the mysterious thing known as The Telling. I have no idea when the next installment will be out (2013 I’m guessing?) but I already want to know more. The last section of this book was action packed and contained such development and then it ended on not a cliffhanger exactly, but at a spot that left me wanting more about the third point in the triangle. Plus there’s that curious narrator that kept popping up….

One of those enjoyable, appealing reads that had me seriously thinking, trying to figure out bits that we haven’t been told yet.


Book #88 of 2012

Dr Leah Giarratano is an Australian clinical psychologist, an expert in psychological trauma, sex offences and psychopathology. She is the author of four Detective Jill Jackson crime novels and now Disharmony, her first book for young adults. This is the 31st book read and reviewed for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2012.

6 responses to “Disharmony – Leah Giarratano

  1. Danielle says:

    Totally agree with everything you said! Such a unique, tantalizing concept! I can’t wait to read more.
    Great review 🙂

    • The potential is awesome, isn’t it? I’m so excited to find out what happens after this, the ending really did stop at a fantastic point….just enough to really leave you wanting more, but not so “cliffhangery” that you feel manipulated.

  2. VeganYANerds says:

    Great review! I’ve only read one other for this book and it wasn’t as positive as yours, I’m definitely interested in reading this now

    • I think that it’s a novel that might divide people because the writing/story is quite subtle. It’s not SLAM! all action and here’s what is going to happen and eerie weird stuff! It’s a slow burn, but the writing IS clever and quite enjoyable and I think it has the potential to get exponentially more awesome with each new book. There’s a lot of possibility here.

  3. […] Giarratano, Leah – Disharmony: The Telling. (Penguin 2012) Bree @1girl2manybooks […]

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