Lisa M. Cronkhite. Poisoned Pen/Poisoned Pencil, $10.95 trade paper (196p) ISBN 978-1-9293-4502-1
Drawing on her own struggles with mental illness, Cronkhite (Deep in the Meadows) crafts an unusual psychological thriller in which a young woman is terrorized and bullied by her own subconscious. "Amelia," as 17-year-old Milly Norris refers to her tormenter, taunts her with cryptic clues and comments regarding the parts of her past she can't remember. As Amelia belittles Milly, urging her to commit acts of self-destruction, Milly realizes that her family is as broken and dysfunctional as she is, and that her early childhood is wracked by tragedy. When Milly ends up in the hospital after cutting herself and losing consciousness, she finally receives the help she needs. However, further discoveries may destroy her attempts at internal peace. While Milly's conflicted relationship with her own mind is skillfully portrayed, the overall narrative is disjointed and unfocused; dramatic revelations come off as muted and distant. Even Milly's diagnosis carries little weight or impact, while another surprise regarding her family is bluntly revealed. Despite these shortcomings, Milly's story provides a strong look at how mental illness can manifest and affect lives. Ages 12–up. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/23/2014
Release date: 06/01/2014
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-929345-03-8
Paperback - 242 pages - 978-1-4596-7847-7
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