Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, YA
Publication date: June 24th 2014
by St. Martin's Griffin
Two years ago, sixteen-year-old Jamie Henry breathed a sigh of relief when a judge sentenced his older sister to juvenile detention for burning down their neighbor’s fancy horse barn. The whole town did. Because Crazy Cate Henry used to be a nice girl. Until she did a lot of bad things. Like drinking. And stealing. And lying. Like playing weird mind games in the woods with other children. Like making sure she always got her way. Or else.
But today Cate got out. And now she’s coming back for Jamie.
Because more than anything, Cate Henry needs her little brother to know the truth about their past. A truth she’s kept hidden for years. A truth she’s not supposed to tell.
Trust nothing and no one as you race toward the explosive conclusion of this gripping psychological thriller from the William C. Morris Award-winning author of Charm & Strange.
-A copy was provided by St. Martin's Press for review-
Holy mother of god this book is some kind of messed up! Like, whoa! But it’s the kind of disturbing that is really wonderfully brilliant when you turn the last page, sit back and really think about it. It’s a story that will make your skin crawl, an ending that made me want to pee myself, and a memorable quality that makes it all unforgettable.
Jamie comes off as someone who is mentally unstable from the very start. Understandably so after learning the tragedy that is his childhood. And like many unsettling narrators, he immediately had me under his spell. I quickly became fascinated by his life, his thoughts, his mysterious condition where his hands go numb anytime he gets too stressed or panicked. I wanted to know his story and all of his secrets the second I met him. I knew, however, that it was not going to be a jolly ride. It would be bleak, possibly bloody, and undoubtedly heartbreaking. Kuehn delivers on all counts.
The problem with reviewing these psychologically fucked up books, is that doing so without spoilers is especially hard. It’s the type of story where the less you know going in, the better reading experience you will have. The plot itself is a big mind game; you’re made to think up endless theories, accusing every character of being evil and manipulative. The funny thing is, though, is the event in question is not impossible to guess, actually it’s quite likely that most will predict what really happened half way through the story, but no matter how much or how little you know – or think you know – the ending is bound to leave you wide-eyed, feeling unsettled and disturbed. It’s a terrible ending in every sense, horrifying even, but it’s also ingenious. It will make you want to discuss it with everyone you know, and go over every OMG and every What-if and all the possible repercussions for days to come!
The writing is superb. It has just the right amount of suspense and obscurity to make you unable to put it down for even a second. Kuehn also allows for the mystery to unravel at the perfect pace, giving us enough to lead us on the right track, but not letting the waves of dread and paranoia weaken. You will want answers, yet not; you will crave the truth with such fear and uncertainty that you will get high from the thrill of this insanity. This is my second book by Stephanie Kuehn, and both of them will be sticking with me for a long time coming.
They say the truth will set you free, but how deep would you cut to find it?