Review: Dead To You by Lisa McMann

Publication Date: February 7th, 2012
Simon Pulse
Format: Hardcover, 243 pages
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
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…

This is the worst nightmare every parent could ever imagine. When your child gets abducted right in front of your house followed by years and years of searching and wondering. Wondering how he or she is, whether or not he’s alive…is he eating good? Where is he?

Ethan Manuel De Wilde got abducted when he was seven. Nine years later, he stood facing a family that he was positive was his. It was awkward at first; after all, they’re practically strangers. The adjustment was a little difficult but welcomed. Growing up, his life hasn’t been all that easy. The mother he knew then was a neglectful drug addict who had abusive men walking in and out of their lives. So the normalcy of having a nuclear family was a breath of fresh air for Ethan. Little by little, his family started cracking again as Blake, Ethan’s thirteen year old brother questions his memory losses. He doesn’t remember anything at all from his life prior to the kidnapping. Just when things are going his way, the truth about his identity shatters his newly found sense of belonging.

I’m a huge Lisa McMann fan. She has a way of telling the darkest stories in the most realistically way possible. Dead to You is no different. I found her books to be easily digestible and it’s a credit to her straight-forward writing.

Dead to You is a glimpse into the lives of a family whose greatest hope was to find their son. And what they had to endure to keep the flames alive. Everything should’ve been copacetic since they’ve found him but no. Believe it or not, it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t happiness all around. The awkwardness of getting-to-know each other again was just the tip of the pressurized iceberg. An ounce of an added weight and it would implode gloriously.  Ms. McMann made it hard to believe that everything is as it should be. Most of the time, I found myself dreading the eventual outcome of their story. And I wish I could say this book ended happily.

Lisa McMann’s Dead to You is signature of her YA works. It’s real, it’s heartbreaking and it’s a short story that packs quite an emotional, awe-inspiring punch.

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