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Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Thoughts: Dead to You by Lisa McMann

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...

**ARC received from Simon and Schuster Canada**

When I first read the synopsis to Dead to You by Lisa McMann I got really excited. It sounded amazing- Sort of like The Face on the Milk Carton or Deep End of the Ocean-esq. Both of which I enjoyed. You see, I am oddly fascinated with these types of plots. A child gets kidnapped and somehow by some miracle is returned to their families years later. The whole concept is interesting- maybe because I can't even fathom the thought of losing a child. It's to much to think about. However, Dead to You fell short for me. I did not like this book at all. For me there was so much wrong with it I don't really know how to review it.

Okay, so we the have Ethan. He was abducted when he was seven from his front yard while his younger brother watched. Nine years later he is miraculously returned to her family. Naturally the family is different as they have had to live through an incredible tragedy. Ethan's younger brother, Blake, who was the only witness to Ethan's abduction, doesn't trust his brother. He's angry and wants answers. But Ethan is unable to answer anything. Why? Because he can't remember what happened to him.

I read this book fairly fast. It's an easy read, and there are a few mysterious events/situations that I was really curious about.


The whole book felt a little juvenile to me. The targeted audience is fourteen and up. I would agree with this age group on some of the content and the language. However, the story itself was bland and lacked character, and I often felt like McMann was targeting a younger audience than what was indicated by Simon and Schuster. There was so much potential in the plot, and I felt like McMann failed in drawing me into the story. Conflict within the family felt a little superficial and while reading I felt like I was reading something intended for ten year old's. Ethan's relationship with Cami was an aspect of the novel that I thought didn't need to be included as it added nothing to the plot as a whole- if it had to be there, maybe it could have moved a little slower. The romance was not believable to me at all.

I think the biggest issue with this novel was the writing. All the emotions that I would expect from a novel that involves something as serious as kidnapping were not present in Dead to You. I felt none of the grief or joy, nor did I get a sense of the confusion that was said to be present in Ethan and his family. This was really frustrating for me. I also felt like things were moving really quickly with no real explanation as to what was going on and why.

 This is the first novel by Lisa McMann that I have read and I have heard that she is fantastic. Dead to You did not convince me of this. I am no will however to give up on her yet. I have Cryer's Cross on my shelf and I have every intention of reading it. Hopefully I will have better luck with that one.

~Happy Reading Everyone!


  1. Ah, you just reminded me that I DO need to read Cryer's Cross. It's too bad that you didn't like this one. I hate it when that happens because then I'm like, what do i say about this?? Thanks for the review!

  2. I liked Dead to You, I just wanted more, especially at the end. I've only read Wake by McMann, but I will definitely read more by her... mostly because the sequel to Wake is already on my TBR shelves. ;)

  3. I'm oddly fascinated by these plots too, but from what you say it sounds like this one lacks a little bit of a punch! :( That's sad.

    The story sounds interesting though! So it's going to the maybe pile

  4. The premise of this excited me too. It seems like such an emotionally laden subject. Even though it sounds like the writing was a major issue I'm still curious about the conclusion of the book. Their missing son is home so is it a book about the recovery process? Finding the kidnapper? Originally I though this was intended for older readers, seems I was wrong lol.

    I really liked Cryer's Cross. The mystery was intriguiging but looking back it seemed like an easy read.

    Great review! You had nothing to worry about :)

  5. This is a fantastic review! You really articulated why it didn't work for you. I read Cryer's Cross and enjoyed it. I'd love to hear what you think about that one.


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