19 January, 2012

ARC Review: Dead To You by Lisa McMann

Published: February 2012, SIMON PULSE

Series: none
Source: Around The World ARC Tours, no other compensation given for an honest review

From Good Reads:
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...

My Review:
DEAD TO YOU is the second novel that I have read by Lisa McMann, the first being CRYER'S CROSS, and both which the words "haunting and emotional" are my thoughts post read. DEAD TO YOU seems like a simpler book than it turned out to be. A boy, having been kidnapped years ago, is returned to his rightful family, and must now adjust to being where he is supposed to be.

The narrator Ethan is fantastic in expressing the emotions that he is going through. The memories he's lost, the animosity from his brother, his confusion and re-integration into his family and neighborhood. All of this serves to muddy the waters of that "simple" story. McMann is genius at setting up the relationships that will be explored throughout the book, and I thought the juxtaposition of his brother's reaction with his parents shows the utter complexities that exist in a situation like Ethan's.

When I read CRYER'S CROSS, I was struck by how much McMann's writing appealed to me. There's not so much flowery description or world-building, but her prose is arresting and intriguing. Even with a vastly different subject in DEAD TO YOU, that style is still evident, and I'm not afraid to admit that it's one of the reasons why I wanted to read this book, without even really knowing what it was about initially. I wasn't disappointed by the journey.

Not surprisingly, I find myself at a bit of a loss organizing my thoughts about DEAD TO YOU. Of course, it was a great book for me. Other than advocating that any one who liked McMann's previous work go out and buy this, read this, it almost feels like my feelings are too private, too intricately part of me to really express how DEAD TO YOU impacted my senses. It's not often that an author or book can affect me this way. I'll go back to saying that DEAD TO YOU was a haunting and emotional rollercoaster that explored the loss of a family, the loss of childhood, and the endurance and sometimes blindness, of hope.

4.5/5 for plot
5/5 for characters
5/5 for language

My Rating: 14.5/15 (5 stars) Must Read

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