Thursday, 22 May 2014


Dead to You by Lisa McMann

Ethan was abducted from his front garden 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, and his family starts falling 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...

If you're a regular reader, you might have noticed a little bit of a theme recently with the books I've been reading/reviewing, and I think that affected my experience with this book. I was writing a manuscript about a girl whose sister disappeared when they were children, but was found several years later. So, naturally, I was reading a lot of books around the subject. This one had been on my list for a long time, before I even had the idea for my manuscript, before I was looking for books about missing children, so I was eager to read it.

And it was really good. Mostly. Ethan's struggling to fit back in with his family, something made especially difficult by the fact that his brother isn't buying Ethan's story. He remembers Ethan getting into a car with two strange men - why would he do that? Ethan can't come up with a satisfactory response, and Blake isn't happy about that. I really liked all the family stuff, the different ways that Ethan interacts with his siblings - fighting with Blake and coming to love Gracie, even though he sees her as the replacement child and resents her initially. Even the interactions with his parents were great, as they fluctuate between being totally sure of him and suffering from a few doubts.

I was less enamoured with Cami and the whole storyline around her. It all seemed a little bit forced and I couldn't honestly see why Ethan needed to have a love interest. She was completely unnecessary and, honestly, kind of incredibly irritating to me. I would have much rather seen Ethan building a platonic friendship with someone, of either sex, than hear him talk about how hot Cami is all the time.

That aside, my only real problem with this book was the ending. I do not buy it. I was not on board with it one bit, not one single bit. I liked the way it was built up to but nope. Not impressed. Not happy at all. I can't discuss it much here for fear of spoiling it for people, but I had something quite specific in mind for the ending (which was probably the problem!) There was another outcome I could have accepted, and I even liked the way in which certain things were...discovered, shall we say? But the things that were, thank you.

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