Friday, May 25, 2012

Teen/YA Review: Dead To You

I can’t hold in my enthusiasm any longer…I LOVED this book!  I was already a fan of Lisa McMann’s Wake, Fade, and Gone trilogy and her novel Cryer's Cross, so I was excited to see she had a new teen/YA novel out, but Dead To You surpassed even my high expectations.  It is a gripping novel of suspense with a unique premise that I could hardly bear to put down, but it has plenty of emotional depth, too.

Ethan was abducted from his neighborhood when he was just seven years old.  Now 16, he has finally been returned to his family in Minnesota, but it’s not an easy transition.  Ethan retains no memories of his life pre-abduction, and after nine years without him, his family has moved on, even having another child (whom Ethan thinks of as the “replacement child”), though of course his parents are thrilled to finally have him back. 

Ethan’s abductor acted like his mother until she abandoned him, and Ethan feels guilty that he doesn’t hate her, in spite of what she did to his family.  Meanwhile, his younger brother, Blake, just seems bitter and angry toward him. The biggest challenge of all is Ethan’s memory, which remains stubbornly blocked for reasons that none of them understand.  There are some positives, too, like the pretty girl down the street who says they were best friends when they were little, and his adorable little sister, Gracie, whom he bonds with in spite of her role as the replacement child.

I won’t say any more because this is a story best discovered bit by bit by the reader.  It won’t take you long to uncover its secrets, though, because it is so compelling, even when it is horrifying.  It was one of those books that I couldn’t stand to put down but also never wanted to end.  McMann has a talent for telling gripping stories populated by very real-feeling characters.  I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

243 pages, Simon Pulse

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