Dead to You

Lisa McMann, Author
Lisa McMann. Simon Pulse, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4424-0388-8
Reviewed on: 01/02/2012
Release date: 02/07/2012
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4640-2003-2
Paperback - 279 pages - 978-1-4071-3723-0
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4423-4636-9
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4424-0390-1
Paperback - 243 pages - 978-1-4424-0389-5
Hardcover - 4 pages - 978-1-4712-2169-9
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-4712-2870-4
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This intriguing but slight character study is built around the first-person account of a teenager returning to his family nine years after strangers lured him into the backseat of a car and drove away. It’s emotionally rich territory, but the setup is highly improbable. Authorities reunite 16-year-old Ethan De Wilde with his family mere hours after he makes his claim, forgoing background and DNA checks. Ethan is enrolled in school the following week without placement testing or counseling. Presumably, McMann (Cryer’s Cross) has confirmed that such casual handling of a victimized family is possible, but the impression remains that the unlikely scenario has been created to suit her plot twists. Ethan’s voice is convincing, even compelling at times, but too many opportunities arise over the course of the novel for readers to notice what McMann is not letting Ethan say. In a work of short fiction, these elements could have succeeded or been ignored. As is, though, the ending feels a bit deceptive. Ages 14–up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Feb.)