Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Amazon Vine
Publication Date: 07 February 2012
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperback (ARC)
Place(s) Traveled to: Belleville, Minnesota
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
First Line: There are three of them. No, four.
Dead to You is Lisa McMann’s newest novel and I was very excited about when I read about the premise – a teen boy who was kidnapped as a child coming home to his family. It reminded me a bit of a book that I read when I was a teen, The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B Cooney, only from a male perspective. I found Dead to You to be a really quick read with short chapters (always a reader’s downfall) and a story that had just enough hook to make you want to keep turning the pages.
The narrative is a stream of conscience format from Ethan’s point of view as he adjusts to returning home and all the difficulties that he and his family face. When reading books I always enjoy being inside of a characters head, seeing and feeling, what they feel as they feel it. My problem with Ethan was that I didn’t always get the boy vibe. There were times when I thought that McMann may have been trying too hard to make Ethan’s voice sound like a boy and for me it just came across as too forced and fake. I also felt that they story didn’t dig deep enough into all the emotions that it could have. There always seemed to be this distance between what was happening and the tension of many scenes never fully materialized for me. It was almost like I was view the story through a glass wall and so everything was just a little muted.
But the kicker for me with the book was the ending. It was a serious WTF sort of ending that left me with a furrowed brow and pretty disappointed. It seemed that just when things were starting to get real it just ended with no resolution. There were more questions left from those last few pages then were raised in the entire first part of the story. Now, with movies I don’t mind the occasional open ended ending in which I decide what happens to the characters. But with books, I want a good solid ending. It may not be the ending that I want, but I want the author to end the book. Dead to You, for me at least, doesn’t have a real conclusive ending. I think that McMann could have continued on and really dug deep into some emotions and conflicts and made this just ok story into something spectacular.