26 March 2012

Dead to You by Lisa McMann

Some memories are better left untouched.

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...

A Heart-Wrenching, Incredible Story

Lemme just say this right off:  I've never had such a visceral response to a book ending before.  Yes, it's true.  It's no exaggeration when I tell you that I was slack-jawed the last few pages of the book.  Lisa McMann's deliberate, to-the-point writing style gave the pages an intimidating aura.  Having instant sympathy for the main character only made it worse.  I was on the edge of my seat all two hundred some odd pages.  I want this book.

"I Am Ethan De Wilde.  I am."
The main character, Ethan, was not a victim, but a survivor, and his voice resonated.  I was surprised to like his character as much as I did, but something just sucked me in.  He wasn't perfect--Lisa McMann did not pussyfoot around anything--but he wasn't so aloof that I couldn't relate to him and sympathize with him.  He was as tough as nails, but threatening to shatter at any second. He was an volatile character, but I loved his voice and his story.  My heart broke for him over and over again.

The Family Picture...of four
I liked the family, and I can't decide if it was because they were just original enough to be cool or cliche enough to be familiar territory.  Regardless, Gracie--Ethan's six-year-old sister--stole my heart from the beginning. I love how she and Ethan interacted--it made me want a little sibling.  (I'm sure that's the worst thing to say ever.)  

I also liked how none of the other family members were perfect.  Out of all of them, I was expecting the dad to be the most 2D, and he was by comparison to the others, but only just.  Blake, the younger brother, in my viewpoint, altered between You're Cool and STFU.  I forgave him his attitude because someone had encroached on his territory, so he was pretty cool.  Not as cool as Gracie.

The Girl Next Girl: Upgraded
I was expecting the whole Cami situation to blow the book into the water, but I liked the way Lisa McMann handled it.  I actually liked Cami, and I rooted for her and Ethan. It made the ending all the more tragic.

An Ending Worthy of a Pint of B&Js
As I said, visceral.  It felt like I'd been punched in the gut.  I literally GASPED.  I am in equal parts awe, envy and suspicious in Lisa McMann's ability to do that.  I've decided I will approach her next book with cautiously restrained enthusiasm.  

God.  She drives me insane.  I hop up on the pool table, shove the balls aside, and lay back before they all bounce off the bumpers and come back to hit me. I stare up at the light fixture until I start seeing black spots everywhere.  Knowing I messed it all up.  (p. 116)
From the street, I glance up at the big picture window, and there's Gracie, nose pressed against it, her little hands cupped around her eyes, peering out at me.  The snow is coming down hard, and there's at least six fresh inches on the roads since the last snowplow came through this afternoon. I'm worked up enough to not be freezing quite yet, but I know I won't make it out here for long.  (p. 134)
The usual massive panic attack crashes into me. I bury my face in my pillow to shield the noise as my body goes out of control and shudders in pathetic, hysterical laughter. (p. 161)
Book Info:
  • pages - hardcover, 243
  • published - February 2012
  • publisher - Simon Pulse
  • genre - contemporary fiction
  • received via - school library :)
  • rating - 5/5