After being shot, white Canadian Allison Briscoe finds herself in a persistent vegetative state, paralyzed but aware of her surroundings.
To pass the time, she becomes a "potato detective," pondering various mysteries. Who shot her, and why? Who comes into her room at night? And who is killing patients every 17 days? Allie's thought processes are alternately flighty and witty—impressive for a 15-year-old with a bullet in her brain—and her attempts to communicate add suspense and poignancy. However, the novel’s structure falls apart. Critical plot points are abruptly resolved in passive summary paragraphs with little description or dialogue, despite Allison's ability to hear. Allison's mystery is interrupted by historical subplots—her state somehow allows her to dream the experiences of her ancestors, each woman connected to a period in Canadian history: the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Upper Canada Rebellion. These third-person dreams are connected to Allie by her necklace: an heirloom made by Paul Revere that may contain a secret. Her ancestors' interactions with such figures as George Washington, Isaac Brock, and Charles Dickens feel like historical product placement, but they may prompt readers to seek more information; there is no bibliography.
Despite an interesting premise, the uneven juxtaposition of mystery and historical fiction shortchanges both plots, giving the book itself the rushed, disjointed quality of a dream. (Thriller. 13-16)