by A. E. Rought
Published January 8, 2013
This is a pre-release review. Thanks to the publisher, Strange Chemistry, for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
*** If you want surprises in this book, don't read the blurb! ***
Imagine a modern spin on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein where a young couple’s undying love and the grief of a father pushed beyond sanity could spell the destruction of them all.
A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry's boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late Fall gloom, haunting the cemetery and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his spectre in the moonlight and the fog.
When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she's intrigued despite herself. He's an enigma, melting into shadows, preferring to keep to himself. But he is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely... familiar. From the way he knows how to open her locker when it sticks, to the nickname she shared only with Daniel, even his hazel eyes with brown flecks are just like Daniel's.
The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there's something very wrong with Alex Franks. And when Emma stumbles across a grotesque and terrifying menagerie of mangled but living animals within the walls of the Franks' estate, creatures she surely knows must have died from their injuries, she knows.
* * *
I admit it, this book is predictable. That said, it really doesn't matter. Really.
While this is a YA book, and like so many YA books has insta-love (and that does drive me just a little crazy), this one actually has a reason for it. So I was easily able to over-look it.
The writing was great, with so many fantastic descriptions. The characters really did feel real. I loved that Emma hung out at the cemetery (ghoulish? Maybe just a tiny bit, but it works). Her parents were great. So many YA books have dumb parents -- it was a relief to see parents acting realistically. Alex was very complex, which he really needed to be to pull this off.
A great book, a little creepy, a few disturbing things to keep that creepy feeling.