Saturday, March 12, 2016

Jean, Emiko.  We’ll Never Be Apart.  Houghton Mifflin  2015  279p  $17.99  ISBN 978-0-5444-8200-5  hs Mystery/Detective  VG     

Jean Emiko’s debut novel introduces a familiar psychological thriller formula to her young adult readers.  While the plot will not seem original to experienced readers, the mystery may be engaging to readers who are new to the genre. 

Alice awakens in a mental hospital, where it is clear everyone believes that she set the fatal fire that killed her boyfriend, Jason.  Alice knows the fire was set by her twin sister Cellie, who she believes is being held in another wing of the hospital.  Alice is convinced that Cellie plans to kill her, as well.  At her doctor’s suggestion, Alice records her memories in a journal, which forces her to confront hidden truths.  With the help of another patient, Chase, Alice is ready to seek revenge -- but has Alice revealed the whole story?  With more questions than answers, nothing is what it seemed anymore.

The reader’s enjoyment of the book hinges on the climax.  If the reader has correctly anticipated the final plot twist, there is no thrill or surprise.  Experienced readers will feel let down, as they hoped against hope for a fresh moment of surprise, but instead recognize the story’s inevitable, predictable conclusion.  Readers unfamiliar with the genre will be surprised at the outcome and will return to the genre ready for another dramatic ending.

Summary: What is the real story behind the fire that killed Alice’s boyfriend?  When she sets out to solve the mystery, Alice finds that nothing is as it seems.       

Twins-Fiction, Arson-Fiction                          --Hilary Welliver

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