Dead To You
Author: Lisa McMann
Release Date: February 7th 2012
Rating: 2 Birds
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..
We’ve reviewed Lisa McMann books on the blog before, but I personally have never read anything by her until now. I was expecting something more than what I got in DEAD TO YOU. While the actual story line was a great idea, I felt the execution on it was a little all over the place.
My main reason for not enjoying the novel is the protag, Ethan. A missing boy found 9 years after being abducted. In the beginning of the book he was as one would expect. Quiet, scared, hopeful, and having a hard time adjusting to the life he was snatched away from. Sure he gets angry, argues with siblings, throws a punch here and there, has a hard time with his memory – these are all things that I would expect of a boy in his position.
What caught me completely off guard is how 1/3 of the way through the book, it’s like a switch is flipped and he totally changes, as if he has multiple personalities. With out provocation he suddenly begin dropping the f-bomb continually. Out. Of. Nowhere. After awhile it was used so much it lost all it’s meaning. Instead of it emphasizing a point, he just became a fowl mouthed punk.
Couple that with his even more disturbing and out of no where explicit, horny thoughts that were more suited for a sexual predator twice his age, and I was at a loss. Sure, I get that 16 year old boys think some pretty raunchy things, but they never felt right coming from Ethan, especially when 2 paragraphs later he’s having a normal, healthy and fun interaction with his little sister Gracie. Keeping up with how he changed so completely and so quickly made me feel like I was watching a tennis match.
McMann feels a little off point with most of her characters in fact. Example: Gracie is supposed to be 6, but speaks like a 3 or 4 year old, with out any explanation as to why. Like previously mentioned with Ethan and feeling like he totally switched personalities with out an explanation, it just winds up feeling like the characters were poorly researched. In my opinion, simple hints, one liners to clue the reader in to small quirks are necessary to fully understand a character, especially a main character.
On top of all this, every time you think you are going to get a hint into why Ethan’s “personalities” are giving you potential whiplash, you get next to no information. Something like (not a direct quote) “It’s all because of Bree Ann. But I don’t want to talk about it now”. So you think, okay I’ll be informed when I need the info. But then it never comes?
In the end the book was fairly predictable and ultimately disappointing. Not what I was expecting at all. I feel like it was a great plot idea, but I just couldn't figure out Ethan enough to enjoy it.