Cease & Desist by Stephen David Hurley

Last Updated on April 7, 2023 by ellen

One of my favorite genres is young adult fiction so when I received a copy of Cease & Desist by Stephen David Hurley, I knew it would be one I’d enjoy. This weekend we woke up to sleet and freezing rain so I had no plans to leave the house. Cease & Desist by Stephen David Hurley

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Cease & Desist by Stephen David Hurley

What if the secret to being charismatic were actually a gene you could inherit, and pass along to your children. What if this “X-factor” could make you a star? Welcome to the world of Cease de Menich, a sixteen-year-old actress in New York City who gets cast as Joan-of-Arc in a reality-drama, only to discover her “acting gift” has been passed down through her bloodline for almost six-hundred-years. Cease finds the plot of the drama reveals dark secrets from her past–an abusive mother, a brother who committed suicide–and the reader must decide if she’s a reliable narrator or a terrified girl who’s succumbed to the pressure of fame and the abuse of her past.

Cease & Desist is a dark, contemporary YA thriller with a supernatural twist. Readers of books like I Let You Go and The Girl on the Train will enjoy this coming-of-age story, which struggles with the realities of sexuality, violence as entertainment, and mental illness. Cease & Desist has excellent crossover potential into the adult marketplace.

My thoughts:

Cease is a 16-year-old actress who is cast as Joan of Arc in a modern day reality TV show.  She has to compete against Betsy Ross and Catherine the Great to be the last one standing in a reality show. Although the characters are historical figures, the reality TV show takes place in modern times and includes “hunky guys” in the drama who have no historical reference. Cease isn’t rich or beautiful like some of the other girls she’s competing against, but she sees herself as a strong woman who can beat them.

Cease comes from a troubled past so she has a lot to overcome during this process. Her mother tried to kill her and her brother committed suicide and the Aunt she is currently staying with doesn’t make the best choices. Like most 16-year-olds, Cease’s emotions are all over the place.  In the reality show drama, the lines/actions of the players are only revealed in small pieces rather than all at once. As the story progresses, Cease struggles to deal with her past and make peace with who and what she is.

If you enjoy young adult thrillers with a twist, I think this one is definitely worth a read. Buy it today.

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