Review: Dead to You by Lisa McMann

Posted at Apr 30, 2012 2:11 pm

I read this book a couple of months ago and had such a strong reaction to it that I immediately passed it on to my teenage daughters and then on to a family friend.
I say “strong” because I don’t know how else to put it. All three members of my built-in review board had the same reaction as myself. It went something like this: WHY YOU GIVE ME THIS TO READ? shortly followed by LISA MCMANN WHY YOU NO WRITE A SEQUEL?????
Briefly the story is about a boy named Ethan, kidnapped at age seven from his front yard, who returns to his family at the age of sixteen. As you can imagine, it is a painful story, but the reunion is even more heart-wrenching because Ethan can’t seem to remember anything about his life with his real former family.

What I loved most about this book: The voice. Lisa McMann managed to capture the tone and attitude of a sixteen year old boy perfectly. I have always admired authors who can write from the perspective of the opposite gender (Wally Lamb in She’s come Undone is the first to spring to mind). I also loved that this book appeals to the most ignored demographic of readers: the teenage boy. With the exception of sci-fi, nearly all YA seems to be aimed at girls nowadays.
The writing flowed easily; the author managed to give us an immature voice without making it choppy or juvenile– ever.

My only problem with the book is that there was one element which I found quite difficult to believe. Let me pose a question to my readers: Without looking at your loved one (sibling, children, spouse, etc) can you remember if their earl-lobes are attached or detached? I know that sounds weird, but it is a key element of the novel. My immediate response: I remember everything about my children, including that detail. Ethan’s parents didn’t, for some reason. I didn’t understand this. Why couldn’t they recall? Why did they need a photograph? Anyone who has ever had children knows that you MEMORIZE your baby. And you never forget, no matter how many years have passed.

And finally, the ending!!

I will not spoil the book by giving away the ending. I will only say that it was the reason we all had such conflicted feelings about the book. It went from LOVE LOVE LOVE to—— OH MY GOD, WHY?????
My recommendation: Read the book.
Then write a letter to the author begging her for a sequel. Please.      

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