It is the rare YA novel that manages to capture my attention so thoroughly and my regard even more so. This week we’re reading a thriller for teens that is well-paced, cunningly plotted – and impossible to put down.
The Story: Emily knows pain. Her best friend Lizzie has died of cancer and there’s no one who can quite understand that hurt. That is, until the Porters come back into town. Emily knows Lizzie’s family will understand better than ever. Maybe a little too well. When she finds herself kidnapped and transported to a completely different town, Emily wakes up to see a different girl in the mirror. It’s not just pain that she’s forced to live now, but her best friend’s life. In order to placate the forces who have taken her, she’ll have to walk the fine line between being her dead best friend and herself, before she loses Emily Lonergan forever.
My Thoughts: Pretend She’s Here hooked me right from the middle. Yes, that’s right, the middle. I opened the book up a few chapters in, and was so caught up that I never bothered to go back. After my first read through, I went back and read this a second time because wow. This book is written so well and the thriller genre is never forgotten, even when familiar slice of life elements make an appearance. Luanne Rice weaves her tale deftly, managing to balance the dark and the light as masterfully as she manages to convey the tragedy of the situation as well as the multi-faceted character dynamics.
Parental Advisories: We love a clean read. I was especially shocked given that this was a thriller and I expected a fair amount of cussing, but this was a clean book the whole way through! Highly recommend it for any reader. This is a thrilling read clean and clear enough for any audience.