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DEAD TO YOU by Lisa McMann

DEAD TO YOU

By Lisa McMann

Age Range: 13 & up

Pub Date: Feb. 7th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4424-0388-8
Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Nine years have passed since Ethan Manuel de Wilde stepped into a stranger’s car and disappeared. Now 16 and restored to his family, Ethan begins to settle down into this new life.

His brother only vaguely remembers the day of the abduction, and his parents had a new child shortly after he vanished. There are some gaps in his memory, of course, but Ethan reconnects with his childhood best friend and new crush, Cami, and adapts to school. But when his younger brother Blake starts obsessing over Ethan’s flawed memories, Ethan’s facade of normality cracks, and he starts to look for a way out. McMann’s narrative is layered and emotional, with constant questions about family dynamics, identity and reconciliation. While an amnesia-based plot risks a quick foray into formula, this resists, balancing the fractured nature of Ethan’s recollections nicely with the character's development. The sibling rivalry builds secondary tension and suspense, especially as more and more gaps appear in Ethan’s anecdotes. While the romance between Ethan and Cami is a bit forced, the love between Ethan and his little sister Gracie is genuinely touching.

An updated abduction novel for a generation that has never seen a missing child’s face on a milk carton. (Suspense. 13 & up)