Review: The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy

Posted August 4, 2016 in Review / 4 Comments

Review: The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy

The Telling

by Alexandra Sirowy
Published by Simon & Schuster, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on August 2nd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery
Pages: 387
Format: eARC

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.

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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.

Page-Turner Young Adult




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.



About Alexandra Sirowy

I live in a small town in Northern California. Although my town is fringed by forests and foothills like the town of Savage in THE CREEPING, it doesn’t have as many secrets (I think) or as dark of a history (fingers crossed). It also isn't a shining, seemingly idyllic island with blood, love, and murder hidden beneath its surface like the island of Gant in THE TELLING.

I've been writing short stories and inventing characters since fifth grade camp in the redwoods. I was an undergraduate at Mills College, where I studied International Relations, and I earned a graduate degree from the University of San Francisco, where I studied the invisible forces that make people and governments act as they do.

In addition to writing fiction, I love discovering new things, traveling (Istanbul is my favorite), sourdough bread, trees, lighthouses, seven layer cakes (who doesn’t?), reading the news, music (the kind that makes your chest swell), adventures (some risky, some not-so-much), being silly with my sister, and my (partner in crime) husband.

I don’t like spiders, anchovies, swimming in lakes (give me the ocean), writing my bio, sunburns, or (much more seriously) inequality.






About Kristin

Kristin has to ensure she gets her minimal requirement of "happily ever after" books in between those books that contain cliffhangers and never-ending story arcs. It's for her family's sake. When not reading, she's homeshooling her 10-year old son, watching cartoons on TV, or taking a nap.

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4 responses to “Review: The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy

    • The cover was what pulled me in, too! See those beads in her hand? Rosary beads!!! Yikes! It does have a confusing beginning but it’s worth it for the “murderous” ending 🙂 The book just has murders so you could, theoretically, read it at night and be okay 🙂