on June 6th 2017
Genres: young adult, mystery-thriller
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When ten-year-old Daniel Tate went missing from one of California’s most elite communities, he left no trace. He simply vanished.
Six years later, when he resurfaces on a snowy street in Vancouver, he’s no longer the same boy. His sandy hair is darker, the freckles are gone, and he’s initially too traumatized to speak, but he’s alive. His overjoyed family brings him home to a world of luxury and comfort he can barely remember. In time, they assure him, he’ll recover his memories; all that matters now is they’re together again.
It’s perfect. A miracle. Except for one thing.
He isn’t Daniel Tate.
He’s a petty con artist who accidentally stumbled into the scam of a lifetime, and he soon learns he’s not the only one in the Tate household with something to hide. The family has as many secrets as they have millions in the bank, and one of them might be ready to kill to keep the worst one buried.
It’s always irritating when you are loving the shit out of a book only to get to the end and be disappointed. Seriously, this book is compulsively readable and it’s great, so it may be just me, but I found the ending to be incredibly anticlimactic. But before I get to why, I want to talk about the good stuff.
First, we have an unreliable narrator, and if that’s your thing, you’re probably going to love this book. I usually love unreliable narrators but it depends on the author’s execution. You never know what Daniel is truly thinking or feeling, because he lies. A lot. But I think this tapers off quite a bit as you progress further into the book, which sort of made me forget about it, and I believe this is why the ending ultimately failed for me. Because View Spoiler » at the end of the book, Daniel dies, or does he? I read some other reviews after I finished the book, and a lot of readers seem to think he’s lying and that he didn’t really die at all, but that doesn’t really make sense to me at all. Why would he lie about that? What’s his motivation? Why would he want the reader to think he was dead, and why would we care either way? « Hide Spoiler
Daniel is a professional scam artist, but his life is really sad and pathetic. You’d think for someone who was supposed to be good at this, he’d set his sights a little higher. He’s basically homeless, and he scams the cops to get into teen shelters, and he jumps from shelter to shelter this way, all across Canada. I think the reader is supposed to feel empathy for Daniel, and I didn’t hate him or anything, but I didn’t like him either. The feeling I felt was mostly pity, but it didn’t go any further than that. You can’t decide to become an awful person just because you had a shitty childhood and expect everyone to excuse it. That’s not how it works.
Anyway, Daniel (also, his real name is not Daniel, we never know what his real name is) finds out he’s supposed to be sectioned, so he has to come up with a plan quick. The real Daniel Tate went missing six years ago and they never found him, and our protagonist looks a lot like him, so he adopts his persona, and becomes Daniel Tate. He moves in with Daniel’s family, and he has no idea what he’s gotten himself into. And that’s where the mystery begins, because he decides to find out what happened to the real Daniel Tate.
At one point I suspected everyone, I think, but the real answer was sort of not a surprise at all. The reason, though? That was a surprise. The signs were there, of course, but I didn’t think the author could possibly GO there. But she did. And that’s the only part I liked about the conclusion because it was so random and OUT there.
I still recommend Here Lies Daniel Tate because Christin Terrill writes exceptionally well and I love her ideas, the execution is just a little bit off sometimes.