Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on August 2nd 2016
Genres: young adult, mystery-thriller
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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.
This book, you guys. YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK. I can’t believe I almost skipped it because it was an eARC and I was overloaded with physical copies. I’m always complaining that good thrillers are so hard to find, but finally I’ve found one that absolutely blew me away. It’s not a perfect book, and I’ll get to why a little bit later, but what it is is entertaining, tense, and really, really unsettling. I haven’t read a book this haunting and atmospheric in a long time.
But it’s not just a thriller. It’s also a book about different types of relationships and the bonds that can be formed, and the depth and flaws of those relationships. When the story opens, Lana’s stepbrother has died two months ago, and as the plot progresses we learn more and more about her relationship with Ben, and the friendships she has formed with the popular kids on her island home to cope with his death. Ben was brutally murdered, pulled from the car while his girlfriend was watching and Lana was sleeping in the backseat. He was stabbed many times, and his body was never found. Two months later, and Lana is trying to move on–poorly, I might add–when the body of Ben’s ex-girlfriend is found at the bottom of Swisher Spring.
What I loved most about The Telling? The unsettling feeling I had while I was reading. The haunting atmosphere. This book is CREEEEPPPY. I felt like someone was looking over my shoulder the entire time I was reading this book. The buildup is intense. And though the bit twist at the end was something I suspected all along, it was still a satisfying ending. I am usually disappointed by endings of books. Especially endings that I predicted. I think the difference here is that I was second guessing myself all along. I didn’t think it could possibly end the way I was predicting, but when it all shook out and everything was revealed, it made total sense, and the way it wrapped up was actually fantastic.
So basically Alexandra Sirowy is a new favorite, and I just have to go back and read her debut as soon as I have time.
The only things that didn’t work for me? The pacing was a bit slow. I feel the book was just a bit too long. I want my thrillers a little bit faster paced, but because the tone of the book was so unsettling, it went almost unnoticed.
And the other thing? Lana’s dad was a bit too absentee for my taste. There’s literally a murderer running around the island, and he never seemed to be home. He left his daughter alone at night. and just two months ago his stepson was stabbed to death. He was always working, and people around his daughter are being killed off left and right and he’s always gone.There’s literally a scene where the detective on the case asks Lana all the questions she should be asking her father about his stepson’s murder. It;s just all very bizarre to me and it really stuck out as something that shouldn’t be.
But I really, really recommend this book. If you love mysteries, if you like to be scared or creeped out, if you like being confused and trying to figure things out while totally being wrapped up in a story and its characters like you are there, The Telling is a book for you.