An echo from the past can haunt you in unimaginable ways.
Genre: Y/A, Contemporary, Mystery
No. of pages: 243
Some memories are better left untouched.
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.
This is now officially my favourite Lisa McMann title to date. ‘Dead to You’ had a more mature voice and such a simple yet strong vibe throughout that it totally sucked me in.
Ethan’s narrative is authentic and completely drew me into his world. His family also exuded realism, dysfunction and all.
Everyone escapes into a fantasy world, and when Ethan returns to his family after nine years of being abducted, foster care and living on the streets, at first that fantasy becomes real… before the struggles of memory, relationships and high school begin to weigh in.
This is very clever, in hindsight, clues to working out the mystery are glaringly obvious. But initially I hadn’t paid them much attention. Also there is a psychological element underlying this story. Lis McMann has always had some sort of challenge around metal illness in her books, but none done as well as this.
Although it’s kind of predictable in the sense that I knew what was coming, but not in how it was delivered. And I love surprises! ‘Dead to You’ has managed to redeem McMann for me, as my interest was starting to wane in her writing.
Apart from our protagonist, Ethan, the rest of the cast has much to offer: his little sister Gracie is adorable; the brother Blake is cautious and stubborn; and Mum and Dad are so gentle about Ethan’s re-introduction to the family it was heartbreaking. A love interest in Cami was amazing too. There was so much love and support around Ethan I was really cheering for him to resolve the tension and get his happily ever after.
‘Dead to You’ has an easy flow and distinctly adolescent male narrative that I flew through in a day. It gave me plenty of feels and was a refreshing reading experience. Recommended for lovers of McMann’s work or those looking for a quick mystery to while away the afternoon with.
Overall feeling: Like watching a car crash – you can’t help but stare
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