Dead to You, by Lisa McMann

Dead to YouEthan De Wilde was abducted from his home when he was seven years old. At sixteen, he returns to his family, but the return isn’t the miracle everyone hopes it will be. It’s complicated, and difficult, and emotionally charged. Ethan desperately wants to remember something from the time before he was abducted, to make this transition easier, but he can’t.

This is the fifth book I’ve read by Lisa McMann, and as usual, I come out of it with two thoughts. One: I still don’t get along with her writing style, and probably never will. Two: She is a fantastic storyteller. I enjoy reading her books, even if I don’t always get along with the writing, and since you all know just how focused I can get on the writing, you know what a big statement that is. I know I will continue reading and enjoying her books.

This is the first book I’ve read by her that wasn’t paranormal in some way. It was far more serious in tone, and it made me think. Ethan disappeared at seven years old, the same age as my youngest child. I imagine what it would be like to have Laurence abducted like that, only to show up nine years later as a teenaged boy who has lived through years of abuse, neglect, and homelessness. I loved the psychology of the book, all the different ways that everyone reacted, the family interactions, and especially Ethan’s very bizarre coping/defense mechanisms. It felt real and messy, not like something that could ever have a happily ever after.

I admit, the end of the book left me a bit unsatisfied. It was rushed, and made me wonder if there would be a second book. I don’t see any sign of there being more books, and I would prefer it to end as a standalone. But a whole new plot opened up right at the end which was both a beginning and a wrapping up. Mostly, it just made me want more. I could have easily read another 50 pages about the fallout. There wasn’t enough resolution for my tastes. However, I suppose in a way, the book did say everything it needed to say, and left right where it began – with worlds shifting and falling apart, no better than before. I think that takes guts in an author and storyteller.

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
This entry was posted in 2012, Prose, Young Adult and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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