Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What we're reading: realistic fiction

Dead to You
by Lisa McMann
243 pages (but with large type and airy spacing, this is a fast read)
Realistic fiction
Grades 8 and up
Reviewed by Melissa

Lisa McMann’s latest book, Dead to You, is as odd and quirky as her other books, although this one does not have any paranormal elements. We are reading Wake for 10-12 Book Club next month, so some of you will get the opportunity to judge for yourselves whether you like her style of writing and storytelling. I find the bare-bones narrative quite appealing, especially the way the information is all filtered through the first-person psyche of her protagonists.

In this book, Ethan has had a rough life. He was abducted by strangers from the sidewalk near his home, in front of his horrified little brother, Blake, when he was just seven years old, and has only now, at age 16, figured out that the woman he knew as Ellen must have abducted him. He found his photograph on a website displaying pictures of missing children, contacted his birth family, and is being reunited with them. This should be a happy ending to what is usually an unresolved mystery, and it is...at first. But soon, a combination of family troubles and Ethan’s memories (and lack of them) from his past begin to interfere with the joyful reunion and the resumption of “normal” life.

Most kids, at some point in their lives, wonder what it would be like to have different parents--usually when they are in the middle of an argument with the ones they have. Most kids ponder the possibility: Could I have been adopted? Do I have birth parents out there somewhere who are more like me? How is it that I feel like an alien in this family? Why don’t I fit in? In this book, Ethan actually gets to find these things out, but the answers aren’t as clear-cut as everyone would wish them to be. I thought this was a really interesting premise for a book, and that McMann wrote it well. Check it out for yourself, and see what you think!

I did not think the cover was in any way tied to the content of the book. I would rate Dead to You 3.5 out of 5--it was good, I enjoyed reading it, and I got something out of it.

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