Alice is at a mental institution, but it’s not her fault. She doesn’t belong there. It’s her twin sister, Cellie, who’s the trouble maker. She’s the one who sets all the fires. She’s the one who’s mentally unstable. She’s the one who needs to be there. Not Alice. And, Alice will do anything it takes in order to free herself and reveal the truth. It’s Cellie’s fault that Alice’s boyfriend burned to death and it’s her fault that Alice is stuck on an island with no way out. Will she be able to discover the truth by getting to the bottom of the mystery?
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: October 2015
Source: Library – Borrowed
On My Shelf: No
Disclaimer: This book relies on mental illness for the sake of story, plot progression, and thrills.
Given that, I think that Jean does an amazing job of creating a mystery story that is intense and thrilling without disregarding or not taking mental illness seriously. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Jean has worked with children that have been in and out of foster care for many years, and I think her good intentions and empathy come through in this book.
(I do not have the same mental disorders as the MC, but I felt mental illness was handled well. If you disagree, feel free to have a conversation with me about it. I’m all ears.)
That all being said, I really enjoyed this story. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what would happen next. I liked the plot and the pace the story progressed. I did not find any of it cheesy or exaggerated. Jean has some awesome storytelling skills. I also liked how it varied between past and present. Jean does a great job of leaving off at all the right points to keep you excited to read what will come next. This is sometimes a hard device to pull off, but Jean does so with flying colors.
Her writing was also wonderful. I had no problem reading this quickly and without complaint. Jeans words were always chosen excellently and many passages had me rereading them because I thought they were so beautifully written. I love Jean’s word choice and the way she’s able to easily weave sentences into a beautiful story. This book is worth the read simply because of how well it’s written.
But, it’s not only these two things that make this book a must-read. It’s also that Jean has no problem writing her characters believably. All of the characters were multidimensional and had a great deal of depth. I had no issue telling anyone apart and found myself caring for each one. There was not a single character that I couldn’t connect with on some level.
So, now that I’ve given all this praise, you might be wondering why 4 stars instead of 5. Well, I’ll tell you. I found much of the plot predictable. Even if I wasn’t always completely sure how the ending would play out, I was always mostly sure. Still, Jean did an excellent job of making me constantly second guess myself. It was a constant, “I know how this is going to turn out” and “but what if it doesn’t.” Jean kept me interested for the whole story, but, as I said, much of it was predictable, so I was blown away enough to give it the full 5 stars.
Overall, this story felt very much like Shudder Island, so if you’re looking for a more toned down book with the same aspects, I definitely recommend checking this one out. I enjoyed this read and will be keeping my eye out for other work my Emiko Jean.
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