★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The Telling was one of those books that pulled me in at the very beginning, even though I saw the ending coming. Set on an island near Seattle, Lana is trying to come to terms with the brutal murder of her step-brother, Ben, who was killed by an unknown man with a red painted face. The only witness to the crime is found dead, and Lana is the one who pulls the body out of the water. Lana and her group of friends are the likely suspects to the police, knowing that Maggie is Ben’s ex-girlfriend, and hated by Lana. The further they dig for the truth and to prove their innocence, more people connected to Lana are killed. Soon Lana starts piecing together the stories Ben used to tell her as a child to the way the people are being killed.
Is Lana committing the crimes and blacking out? Is she being framed for the murders? Is Ben’s ghost seeking revenge?
Those answers I did not know. I typically do not read YA, especially YA mystery/thriller, but The Telling is exceptional. While it is a contemporary mystery, it is about bravery, discovering one’s self, and come to the end, being honest with who you are. Despite knowing who the killer was early on, that did not lessen the enjoyment I got from reading this book. It is twisted, dark, and crazy. If you are expecting a horror novel, this is not it – it is a YA mystery that dips into thriller closer to the ending. The world-building and character development is natural and rich with progression throughout the story, and you can tell it was well thought out and crafted. It is a book that will be hard to put down, and in between reading you will be talking about it to anyone willing to listen.
Lana used to know what was real.
That was before when her life was small and quiet.
Her golden step-brother, Ben, was alive, she could only dream about bonfiring with the populars, their wooded island home was idyllic, she could tell the truth from lies, and Ben’s childhood stories were firmly in her imagination.
Then came after.
After has Lana boldly kissing her crush, jumping into the water from too high up, and living with nerve and mischief. But after also has horrors, deaths that only make sense in fairy tales, and terrors from a past Lana thought long forgotten: Love, blood, and murder.
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published August 2nd 2016 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
I received a copy in exchange for an unbiased review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.