by Jessica Warman
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Ten years ago, Sam and her best friend, Remy, witnessed Sam's four-year-old sister, Turtle, being taken away from Sam's own basement on while their parents were celebrating the New Year. The kids pegged the kidnapper as Sam's older sister's boyfriend, Steven. Fast forward to 1996, Sam and her family moves back into the hours where Turtle was taken from. As new evidence and new memories begin to surface, Sam and Remy realize that they may have accused the wrong person.
This book is just irritating. Its less than 300 pages, but nothing happens until the last six chapters. I was so and reading this book because I kept reaching milestones of 50 or 100 pages, and there would still be no plot development. I didn't find any of the characters very well made or relatable, and there was honestly no point to this book other than to marginally frighten you. I got to the point where I had ten pages left, and I was still contemplating giving up on this book. I had such high hopes for this book from the synopsis, but it just didn't get anywhere near where I was hoping.
This story is written in two ways. One, it was written in Sam's present day, Summer 1996, in a present tense. The second was retrospective, and it was current Sam telling the story of 1985, 1986, or earlier in 1996. I didnt really have a reference on which one I liked better, they were both sort of boring.
I kept getting feelings throughout this book that I have read this plot before. It reminded me somewhat of The Lovely Bones since it dealt with a family grieving and trying to make sense of a child's murder when they can't find the body. Also, it reminded me of a more obscure writing, one that I would be surprised if that many people have read. It was a story originally written on Reddit under the subreddit of r/nosleep. This story came in many parts, and was written under the screen name of 1000vultures. It told the story of a kid who his whole life had a stalker that was obsessed with this kid, and as he grew up, it became increasingly frightening to him. It was published under the name Penpal by Dathan Auerbach. I don't know if that was intentional that the author added so many similarities to Dathan's work, but I saw too many parallels to ignore it.
I honestly hated the characters. My most hated was not the murderer/kidnapped, but instead it was the man character's mom. She was probably the most hateful person that I have ever read about. I get that her daughter was kidnapped and probably killed, but she was the kind of mom that showed her favoritism so much, and I can't stand it when parents do that. She hit her oldest daughter at some point in the book, and that was the point when I lost all respect for her. The biggest problem that I had with the mom (I don't even remember if she was given a name.) was that she was a beauty pageant kid/mom. She was the type of person that would talk behind her best friend's back just because she didn't have makeup on. I just had a very deeply rooted hatred for this woman.
Throughout the book, there were a lot of snippets from a book about Turtle's murder. I liked that they were in there, but I felt that the snippets were out of context. Some of them had zero relevance to what the chapter it followed or preceded talked about. Also, you didnt know who the excerpt was referring to. It would say "he" and you were supposed to know what male character it was referring to.
I didnt like the marketing of this book. The first line on the back of my book says "A powerful THRILLER..." This book was probably the lest thrilling thriller I have ever read. I don't think I ahem been more disappointed with a book in a very long time.
My last grievance with this novel was the ending. I'm not going to spoil it (don't worry). I thought it was too open ended for this book. This book was a kind of book where you needed closure on everything, but this book gave you the "make up your own ending" kind of thing. It just irritated me.
I am going to end this review on a positive note since this was all negativity. The second to last chapter, and the first page and a half of the last chapter were magnificent, and actually thrilling. Those nine-and-a-half pages are the only reason that I cant give this book one star.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and honestly it would be more difficult to make a dishonest review than a truthful one.