Primary Genre: Psychological Thriller
First published: 1/12/17 by Michael Joseph
Page count: 338
Memorable Factor: High
Cover: Creepy, appropriate and effective
Ending: Unexpected and well done
Would I recommend it: Yes!
Commission Link: https://amzn.to/2I1b3HO
My rating: ★★★★★
Synopsis from Goodreads
How far does the apple really fall from the tree? Milly’s mother is a serial killer. Though Milly loves her mother, the only way to make her stop is to turn her in to the police. Milly is given a fresh start: a new identity, a home with an affluent foster family, and a spot at an exclusive private school. But Milly has secrets, and life at her new home becomes complicated. As her mother’s trial looms, with Milly as the star witness, Milly starts to wonder how much of her is nature, how much of her is nurture, and whether she is doomed to turn out like her mother after all. When tensions rise and Milly feels trapped by her shiny new life, she has to decide: Will she be good? Or is she bad? She is, after all, her mother’s daughter.
Wow! Wow! Wow! I got sucked right in from the get go and couldn’t believe where this book took me. Here are my pros and cons:
- This is voice driven thriller. The reader is 100% in Milly’s head throughout the entire book. You are eavesdropping on her thoughts, her memories, her emotions. You kind of become Milly… and when you read the book you will understand why that is the scariest thing of all! It was a creative format and well executed.
- You know from the synopsis that Milly’s mom is a serial killer, and we find out very quickly in the book who she is killing. But you are never really told how she commits the murders or even really why she does it. Milly’s memories provide little snippets of detail, but never full information. So it is left to the reader to imagine the circumstances. I thought that was a super effective way of creating suspense and a general feeling of unease about the entire situation. The unknown can often be more terrifying than what we do know, right?
- The instability of Milly’s mind felt so genuine. I read online that the author worked as a child and adolescent mental-health nurse. Her experience in that profession obviously benefitted the development of Milly’s character and it was impressively done.
- You know what Milly has been exposed to and what she has been forced to experience and you find yourself going from feeling sorry for her to being almost afraid of her and then back again to feeling sorry for her. You are in her head so you experience her emotions and thoughts and reactions to everything – and everything has been colored by her experience of living with her serial killer mother. Can you imagine?
- Awesome examination of nature versus nurture.
- What do you do when you hate your mom, but you also love her? When you want her dead and gone, but you can’t imagine life without her? What a horrible thing for a child to deal with! That is some deep psychological trauma no matter how you slice it!
- Phoebe (Milly’s foster sister) is one of the most hateful human beings I’ve ever experienced in a book. I felt like her personality and interactions with Milly might have been a tad bit overwritten/exaggerated. I understand that her actions were necessary for the direction the story was going, but Phoebe just didn’t feel genuine to me. Please tell me teenage girls aren’t really that heartless and cruel!
I picked this book randomly off my Want to Read list on Goodreads – it has been on my list for quite a while. I’m so glad I finally read it. I love finding creatively written psychological thrillers and this one was definitely well done.
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