Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: February 7th, 2012
Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It's a miracle... at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn't going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he'd be able to put the pieces back together. But there's something that's keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable...
(Courtesy of Goodreads)
I had been looking forward to this book for a very long time. I am a fan of Lisa McMann's and when I heard about this book, I was really excited. As a Contemporary novel, it's something of a departure from what she usually writes (Fantasy and Paranormal), and I was eager to see what she would do with it. When I purchased it, I was excited, but had a pile of ARCs to get through... When I finally got a little break from that, I immediately picked up Dead to You. It's a pretty quick read (most people should be able to finish in a day or two), and it's really good. That said, I still don't know how I feel about it... I know it's my 2nd favorite of her books (The Unwanteds, her MG Fantasy, is my favorite), and I enjoyed the writing- technically speaking, there was nothing wrong with the book. I guess I'm just having a difficult time articulating how I feel because it effected me deeply, and I still have an uncomfortable feeling in my gut after reading it. It's one of those books that makes you think; I mean, REALLY think. As the parent of a 10 year old and 7 year old twins, this book kind of hit me hard from the beginning, which I expected. What I didn't expect was that the hits would keep coming and coming and coming, until the very last page. I really can't delve deep into the story without major spoilers, but I will say that the synopsis doesn't even scratch the surface of what this book is about, or the intensity of the situation. Honestly, it's a good thing that this book is so short because the kind of emotional turmoil it brings up would be too much if it were longer. My only (very small) issue was that I kind of saw some of the ending coming from around the middle of the book. I wasn't prepared to believe it because it was so heartwrenching, so I tried not to, and that made it all the more shocking when she went there, but I did see it. I kind of wish that there would be a second book, because I wouldn't mind knowing how everything plays out, but at the same time, the way Lisa ended things was pretty perfectly aligned with the entire story. This book has left me completely conflicted, and I don't think that will change, but I liked it. Make sense?
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Grade Level Recommendation: There are a bunch of swears, some extremely heavy themes, and some sexual situations. I would say this book it most appropriate for students grade 9 and up (ages 14+) if they are reading it on their own, however, I think this would be a great discussion book for an 8th grade class or book club.