I know I’ve been reviewing young adult books so far, and that’s actually not all I read, but I do write book reviews for another source as well which is often where my adult reviews end up. However, I’ve read a few lately (as in, quite awhile ago because this post is super late) that I decided to share here instead, so if you’re not a YA fan like I am, perhaps one of these three books will be a better fit! Expect quite a few mystery and thrillers, especially dark ones, because that seems to be where my interest lies these days!
This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash*: This Dark Road to Mercy is a Southern mystery about two young girls who are put in foster care after their mother’s death, only to have their father Wade, a former baseball player who has given up his parental rights, show up and steal them away in the middle of the night. However it turns out that there are quite a few people interested in finding Wade, both in order to find the girls he’s abducted, and to find the large amount of money he’s stolen.
Cash’s novel is complicated and compelling, as it switches between narrators it becomes obvious that things aren’t quite how they seem and there’s something both quiet and dark about the story. This isn’t a book that kept me gripping the pages unable to put it down, but every time I picked it up I was rooting for the girls and immersed into the world of flawed, desperate characters. Cash does build tension, but slowly, and although well-written and full of atmosphere This Dark Road to Mercy never quite fully captured me the way a great suspense novel does. The Fever by Megan Abbott*: I really enjoyed the last novel I read by Megan Abbott, Dare Me, so when I had a chance to pick up her latest book The Fever I instantly went for it. I was also quite intrigued by the storyline, which like her previous novel centres around teenage girls, this time when one has a horrible seizure leading to panic, and the illness, spreading amongst the high school. Once again, Abbott captures the dark and vivid image of the relationships among girls, a haunting story of hysteria where nobody knows what is causing the sickness, and so that leads to all kinds of theories taking root.
It was interesting to see how the panic spread not only among the high school students but also the community at large. I’m not sure I always believe Abbott’s portrayal of teenage girls, but I do love the way her books focus on the dark underbelly of high school. That said, while I continue to be a huge fan of Abbott’s writing which is both biting and sharp, The Fever often gets distracted into explanations and ideas that don’t seem believable, and ending could have been more satisfying after all the anticipation.
When She Was Gone by Gwendolen Gross*: I’d had When She Was Gone in my (digital) stack of books to read for over a year when I finally reached for it, and honestly, in the 6 months since I’ve read it, it’s done a pretty good job fading from memory. In the novel, seventeen-year-old Linsey disappears the day before she’s supposed to leave for college, and the book transfers between all of her neighbours as they reveal their own secrets and connections to her. There are a lot of characters, and although the mystery of Linsey is what triggers the novel, she is definitely not as essential as I expected.
Each of Gross’s characters have their own unique quirks and stories, and although I was I definitely was waiting to find out what happened to Linsey, I was also kept intrigued by their personal struggles. Still, after finishing When She Was Gone I wasn’t in a rush to talk about the book and by now, it’s definitely mostly gone from my memory.
Well, that’s all the book whimsy for today! My plan is to definitely stick with these on a weekly basis, but obviously that hasn’t been much of a success so far. Inspire me and let me know what you’ve been reading lately!