ebook, 400 pages
Expected publication: August 2nd, 2016 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
This is my last review for the next couple of weeks *plays the world’s smallest violin*, and unlike the title of this book, I don’t really have a lot to say about it. Which is why this is probably going to be the longest review ever anyways…
“A chilling new novel about a girl who must delve into her past if she wants to live long enough to have a future when a series of murders that are eerily similar to the dark stories her brother used to tell start happening in her hometown.
Lana used to know what was real. That was before, when her life was small and quiet. Her golden stepbrother, Ben was alive. She could only dream about bonfiring with the populars. Their wooded island home was idyllic, she could tell truth from lies, and Ben’s childhood stories were firmly in her imagination.
Then came after.
After has Lana boldly kissing her crush, jumping into the water from too high up, living with nerve and mischief. But after also has horrors, deaths that only make sense in fairy tales, and terrors from a past Lana thought long forgotten. Love, blood, and murder.”
The blurb sounded so promising. I haven’t read many YA thrillers, so I was wondering how scary it would be compared to a regular thriller.
I have to admit, a couple of scenes had me on the edge of my couch with some half ass attempt at hyperventilating, but I also have to admit to skimming through a lot of paragraphs because I was bored out of my mind.
This is the story of Lana, told in the first person by *drum roll*…Lana. She lives on the island of Gant (a fictional [?] island near the coast of Seattle) with her dad, stepmom, and stepbrother, Ben. Ben’s name is being mentioned 873 times in the book. Maybe this isn’t just the story of Lana eh? Or maybe, Lana’s just slightly obsessed with Ben. You can’t really blame the lass because Ben was stabbed and thrown off a cliff practically right in front of her eyes. All Lana (and the police) knows is that the culprit was a man with a red painted face.
While everyone’s determined (a.k.a. slacking the shit out of the actual investigation) to find out who Ben’s killer is, another person is found dead on the bottom of a river: Maggie, Ben’s ex-girlfriend. The one who also happened to be present when the man with the red painted face dragged Ben out of his car.
So while this still sounded promising to me at around 10% into the book, this is what happened next:
–Lana: “Ben, Ben, Ben, yadayada, Ben!”, “I feel so awful.”, “I feel so amazing.” “I’m a bad person, somebody should spank me.” The girl just couldn’t make up her mind about anything, which made it very hard to relate to her. This is quite a problem for me if it’s the protagonist we’re speaking of.
–The other characters: horrible teenagers + matching dialogues: I have no problem with YA and YA drama most of the time, but this was just toe cringing.
–The plot: Just like Carrie mentioned in her review here, from the get-go, it’s pretty obvious who the killer is. So you’d expect it not to be that person. Nuff said there apart from it being a bit of a disappointment in the end.
–The length of the book: Somebody edit this, please. It could’ve had a 100 pages less, easily (and probably would’ve been a lot better too then).
Why am I still giving it 2.5 brownies? Because I’m a sucker for the Scream formula in which victims are picked off one by one and where everybody’s a suspect. The edge of my couch, people!
Just because I didn’t really like it doesn’t mean you won’t either. If you’re into YA thrillers and don’t mind reading about some Mean Girls type of teenagers, this might be a nice summer read for you.
Thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing me with a copy of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest opinion!
Links to the book: