The Tellingby Alexandra Sirowy
Published by Simon & Schuster, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on August 2nd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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.
This is one of my favorite lines from Monty Python and it fits so many things in life. It just sings in my head whenever I come across something I’ve never seen or experienced before in my life. And The Telling certainly qualifies for this quote. I was not prepared for what all the “craziness” in this book.
First and foremost, this is a young adult mystery. Lana is our protagonist and first person narrator. She is dealing with the death of her stepbrother Ben only a little over two months ago. His “murder” has never been solved. But after grieving for him and holing up in her bedroom for a entire month, Lana decides to kick gloom to curb and get out and enjoy life. So there’s the Lana before Ben’s death, and the Lana after his death, who is now brave and fierce and takes chances, like jumping into a pool of water from a cliff above.
But Lana’s summer of “healing” takes a huge left turn when a dead body turns up in the swimming hole.
It took me a bit to get acquainted to the format of this story. Lana bounces back and forth between the present and the past quite a bit. She’s telling the story gradually, letting small details come out in their own time through her own story telling. We learn about her and Ben’s childhood together. Even more important to the story, we learn about Lana’s childhood. It was sooooo interesting, it’s what kept me glued to the pages, weeding through the bits of story being doled out bit by bit. I’m not used to being spoon sped a story out of order. I want all the details in time chronological order. Not some here and some there, then oh, back there again. Know what I mean?
Either way, by the time I hit 50% of the story, I was sooo okay with it. It totally worked! At 50%, the story took off, the veritable shit hit the fan, all hell broke loose, you name it, it happened! Death, blood, dead birds!! As I commented on Goodreads, I think the teens will freak when they read this….. or maybe not. One scene in particular sticks with me to this day and I can’t glance casually out in my backyard like I used.
I have to commend Ms. Sirowy’s balance of characters. I really don’t want to discuss too much about what makes up each character because the story is partly about character growth, blah, blah, blah… you know what I mean. But I want to comment on the fact that Ms. Sirowy made me interested in these characters, good or bad. I wanted to read about them, even when they were acting like obnoxious teens.
If there could be an award for best ending, Ms. Sirowy would be in the running. She had action, suspense, and she went in the absolute correct direction with her ending.