Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dead to You

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): How science solves the mystery, and genetics comes back to bite a boy in the butt.

Author: Lisa McMann
Info: Simon Pulse, copyright 2012, 243 pages

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...

~Goodreads Description~

I wasn't going to write this review.  It's not that it was really poorly written.  I just found it to be completely implausible. 

The Breakdown
Ethan was kidnapped as a small boy, but he's back.  He doesn't remember much about his abduction, and his memories of his childhood are basically non-existent, but he's happy to be off the streets back with the family he once knew.  But things aren't going as smoothly as he had hoped.  His parents are extremely overprotective, his brother hates him, and there's a replacement child that's just as stubborn as he is.  The small town is overjoyed to have the lost boy returned, but the memories of his past keep coming back to haunt him, and Ethan is about to find out that the past can destroy you.

So I can buy a lost boy returned.  And I can buy a loss of memories suffered by trauma and possibly stockholm syndrome.  But I refuse to believe that a family would meet a lost child and immediately take him home without any initial counseling or visitations.  I also can't believe that that same child, who has been gone for NINE years, would be sent to school two days later without having first learned the type of abuse, mental or physical, he might have endured.  And would a family really bring a stranger, who has knowingly been living on the streets, into their home when they have two other children at home, one of which has no idea she had a brother that disappeared in the first place?

Again, not poorly written, Lisa McMann has some talent, just not a great plot.  I never really sympathized with Ethan and his difficulties.  I never actually sympathized with anyone in the family, and I really felt like I should after everything they endured.  It was, however, fast paced and easy to read, with clues revealed pretty quickly while still building tension and intensity.

Sadly, there are many of these kinds of stories in the news.  And if you're fascinated with the consequences of captivity, loss, and neglect, this might be the book for you.


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