Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Dead to You" by Lisa McMann

243 pages

We begin this story with what is supposed to be a happy ending. Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was seven. Now he's sixteen, and he's just been reunited with his family: his parents; his brother, Blake, who is two years younger and witnessed the kidnapping all those years ago; and Gracie, the six-year-old sister he's never met. As happy as the reunion is, Ethan is struggling. He can't remember anything about his life before he was taken, so everything feels foreign. He feels like he doesn't fit in and wonders if he's been gone too long to become part of the family again. As time goes on, he becomes more and more troubled by missing memories, from both before and after the abduction. What terrible thing is his mind blocking?

This story has a very interesting premise, but I was disappointed. I wanted more character development. This is such a complicated issue, but I felt like I didn't know any of the characters enough to really get invested in the story like I could have. Also, Ethan's family's reaction seemed totally unrealistic to me in many ways. Ethan returns out of the blue after being gone for almost a decade, missing most of his childhood, leaving his parents thinking that he was dead, and yet the family basically goes about their business as usual immediately after he returns. They go to work and take Gracie to soccer or whatever the very next day and even make Ethan go to school the Monday following his Friday homecoming. It just didn't ring true. Yeah, I know I'm nitpicking, but I reserve the right to complain about whatever bugs me in my reviews :). There's some decent enough suspense leading up to the end, but it's ultimately pretty predictable due to clues throughout the story. It's too bad, because this could have been a really good story.

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