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YA, Contemporary, 256 pages, Simon Pulse
- Series: 1st in Dead to You series
- Pub date: February 7th 2012
- Why I read it: Author I love, mystery, kidnapped
- Disclosure: Received an ARC from the Red Balloon Bookstore. Thanks!
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...The Long...
Readers who've stuck around the Bookshelf for awhile might remember my undying love for Lisa McMann's Wake trilogy, and my passionate open letter in its defense last January, and thus understand how excited I was for Dead to You. Those who haven't been around that long? Suffice to say I was excited. Really excited. Unfortunately, though, it didn't quite live up to expectations.
It's not that Ethan isn't a sympathetic character, or that his voice didn't ring true: he is, and it did. In fact, Ethan's voice was in many ways more distinctive than Janie's in Wake. It's not that the story wasn't interesting, or that there wasn't enough tension, or that it didn't keep me guessing till the very end. It's just that it felt...well, empty, like eating popcorn on an empty stomach. I put it down in a daze, and then didn't let it cross my mind for weeks.
The ending, in particular, felt like a sucker punch. Sick as I am of cliffhanger endings, I can't exactly hold it against McMann for trying to pull it off: they definitely sell books, and can even work as part of the story when done right. It's just that in a story already full of suspension of belief--a childhood kidnapping AND amnesia AND a girl-next-door romance AND family drama, and, and, and--one more gimmick was not what the story needed.
It's still a badass book from a badass writer. I just can't help thinking it could have been something more.
...and the Short:
McMann has the teen voice down pat, but the story left me wanting something...more. Worth reading, but maybe not pre-ordering.
The Final Word: Liked It.
Dead to You will be available February 2nd, 2012.