by Nancy Werlin
Read by: Nick Podehl
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Content: There’s talk about a murder and a suicide, a lot of mild language, and one f-bomb. Plus a lot of intense situations. It’s in the teen section, (grades 9 and up) of the bookstore, but I’d give it to an 8th grader if they showed interest.
David Yaffe is a killer. Sure, he was acquitted at trial for murdering his girlfriend, but he knows in his heart that he. is. a. killer. So, even though he’s off to Boston to live with his Uncle Vic and Aunt Julia (and their daughter, Lily) and to start over at a new school, he knows — knows — that things will never, ever be the same again.
It doesn’t help that Vic and Julia have waged a cold war with David’s parents for years, and that Julia (at least) is not happy to have David there. It also doesn’t help that their daughter, Kathy, committed suicide in the attic apartment where David’s currently living. And it really doesn’t help that Lily resents David’s presence. Not because he’s a killer — which is the reason most people can’t be around David — but because he’s an intrusion in her perfect little (albeit warped) world.
I don’t know how this is in print form, but listening to Podehl narrate the book, I was completely creeped out. Especially by Lily. It was one of those books where I was yelling at the CD in the car “NO. SHE NEEDS HELP!!” pages (discs) before the characters realized it. And Vic and Julia? I don’t care if it was the mid-1990s (I realized, at one point, that Kathy was my age, which means Vic and Julia were my parents age), they were horrible, horrible, horrible parents. (So were David’s, for that matter.) The epitome of controlling and judgmental. And there was very little growth arc, for them, at least. (Though I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the point of the book.) However, David and Lily, were fascinating characters, and the book is more about their relationship than anything else.
And that had me compelled — even if I thought Podehl’s voice for Lily was a bit on the whiny side — from the first disc to the last.