Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book Review: Dead to You, by Lisa McMann

Title: Dead to You
Series/Sequel? No
Author: Lisa McMann
Genre(s): Hard Topics, Realistic Fiction, Relationships
Age Level: YA
Page Count: 243 (Paperback)
Perspective: First Person (Male)

Summary: Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It’s a miracle…at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn’t going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he'd be able to put the pieces back together. But there’s something that's keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable...

Review: The one thing to say about this book: it's an extremely quick read. I was finished in one sitting of two hours. The page count itself is pretty short, yes, but also just the way it is written lends itself to be finished quickly.

I think the urgent quality of the plot is definitely a part of that. Things start off seemingly with the ending: Ethan De Wilde, who was kidnapped from his suburb when he was seven, has been reunited with his family after nine years through the Child Protection Services. But then he goes home, and things go from bad to worse, relationships build and break, and then BAM! it's finished.

And the ending... I've seen a lot of people on Goodreads complaining about the ending and how it was too abrupt and left too many questions unanswered. And I agree with that, to some extent. It was an extremely abrupt ending that slapped you in the face and left many questions unanswered, unless you were intelligent enough to piece together small clues throughout. Too-small clues, in my opinions. Who is Ethan, then? is everyone's question at the end. I had no idea either, until I went to the book group in which I read this book for, and the people who understood it told us that Ethan is actually David, Ellen's biological child. I didn't get that until they told me and explained it to me multiple times. And even now, I'm still not sure I like that twist and that explanation.

I thought that the summary was somewhat misleading. With the last line "But there's something that's keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable." I thought that it was going to have a paranormal twist of some sort, even a small one. And that kind of threw me off as I was actually reading it and found that it was pure realistic fiction.

I feel like I should probably forewarn you about how dark this book is. It's extremely dark and scary, and it's not for someone who gets scared easily. It's for someone who wants to think, and who wants some well-written realistic fiction and real-world problems to do so.

Realistic fiction is not my genre by any means, but realistic fictions and dark, thoughtful story fans will definitely enjoy this one!


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