I received this book for free from Henry Holt and Co. in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Lonely Dead by April Henry
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on January 29th, 2019
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal, YA
Source: Henry Holt and Co.
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A killer is on the loose, and only one girl has the power to find him. But in this genre-bending YA thriller, she must first manage to avoid becoming a target herself.
For Adele, the dead aren’t really dead. She can see them and even talk to them. But she’s spent years denying her gift. When she encounters her ex best friend Tori in a shallow grave in the woods and realizes that Tori is actually dead -- that gift turns into a curse. Without an alibi, Adele becomes the prime suspect in Tori’s murder. She must work with Tori’s ghost to find the real killer. But what if the killer finds Adele first?
Master mystery-write April Henry adds a chilling paranormal twist to this incredibly suspenseful young adult novel.
Ugh I don’t even know how to word as I write this review. I’ve written and deleted the first sentence about a 100 times. BUT. I guess. Here is the thing, I read an April Henry novel years ago, liked it, and read a BUNCH by her this year. Just looking at the books in the chronological order they were published, it seems that the books have gotten progressively worse? Which is to say, that her later books have lost that kick a lot of her earlier books had.
If you’ve been a fan for a while and coming to this book because you have come to expect some thrill and some mystery from April Henry, you should stay. If you want anything more than that, like character development and to read about people you don’t want to punch just a little, you should maybe scoot along?? IDK. If I were reading my own review, I’d probably choose to read the book because sometimes I ~am~ just craving a quick mystery to take off the edge but The Lonely Dead really doesn’t have much else going for it besides that April Henry basically knows how to write a mystery.
For starters, the girl who died is a bitch. We are supposed to like her better by the end of the novel, but she is a racist bitch and I am NOT HERE FOR THAT SHIT. I will tolerate bullies, I will not tolerate bullies that bully girls by pointing out their darker skin. NOPE. Mind you, there is all but one line that alludes to this but that should give you an idea about the kind of person dear Tori was.
As I’ve grown up and become more aware, I’ve also become more sensitive to books that do the whole “MC is thought to have a mental illness (usually schizophrenia) but can actually see things others cannot.” I think it’s such a fine line to walk and sometimes if not done carefully, it can seem dismissive of people who actually have those mental illnesses and to mental health specialists. I will give April Henry the credit she is due by saying she really does seem to acknowledge this as a larger issue. It did seem a little unnatural, the way it is incorporated within the context of the novel, but I do appreciate the distinction.
As for the actual MC, Adele is SO BLAND. Her entire existence is ‘woe is me’ and she is so dense sometimes. I am pretty sure she is a plot device and not an actual character, lol. So is basically everyone else in this book.
The plot does have a little zing to it in that I became invested enough to continue turning pages even though the characters were basically all cardboard caricatures. I wanted to know who killed Tori and I wanted to the po-po to finally catch the right people. I was also slightly invested in Charlie (who is a sort-of love interest) but he barely had a presence in the book.
UGh. I need to stop talking/typing because this review has also become extremely bland and I am sure anyone reading this wants this torture to end so I WILL SHUT UP SOON. BUT, if you are interested in this book, I say read it if you’re just looking for a quick, semi-engaging read. We need those kinds of books too. If you want actual character development or to have any interest in any of their lives, you should probably not read this book.
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Amber Elise @ Du Livre
I’ve really liked April Henry books in the past so this is sad to hear. I haven’t read anything by her in a while, so maybe I should hold on to those good memories?
Tori sounds like a mess of a person, I’m not here for redemption arcs for racist bullies in 2018. Nah.
Sorry this one was such a pain to write, BUT YOU DID IT.