BOOK REPORT for What We Lost in the Dark (What We Saw at Night #2) by Jacquelyn Mitchard

 

Cover Story: Vague Suspense

BFF Charm: Eventually

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Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Talky Talk: Did I Miss Something?

Bonus Factor: Awesome Grownups

Relationship Status: You Lost Me

(Beware spoilers! This review is for the second book in Mitchard’s What We Saw at Night duology; if you want to check out the FYA review of the first book—What We Saw at Night—you can do so here.)

What We Lost in the Dark

Cover Story: Vague Suspense

The red tones on the cover are a bit ominous, and the semi-creepy looking cabin by the lake combined with the (naked?) girl standing in a boat make for a feeling of suspense, which is good for a thriller novel. But the bokeh over the forest in the background and in the sky makes me think more Marfa lights/will-o’-the-wisp than scary story.

The Deal:

In the aftermath of Juliet’s death, Allie and Rob grow closer, even as Allie gets more and more obsessed with figuring out Garrett Tabor and his increasingly sketchy behavior. Instead of turning to Parkour for their nightly life-affirming antics—they continue to only be able to go outside at night due to their illness (Xeroderma Pigmentosum)—since the discipline makes them think too much of their missing “amigo,” the two take up free diving, which involves diving deep in cold water without the assistance of scuba gear. While on their first real dive, they happen upon a sight that changes everything, and Allie’s obsession escalates to new, even more dangerous levels.

BFF Charm: Eventually

BFF eventually-What we Lost

I actually liked Allie more in the first book in this duology, since she wasn’t as single-minded about her need to reveal Garrett’s true nature. While I appreciate her diligence in trying to solve Juliet’s murder, she makes some seriously stupid choices and is often rude to both her mother and Rob. I can understand why, to a certain extent—she’s dealing with her best friend’s death and being basically told that she’s crazy—but that shizz would get old, fast.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Allie and Rob continue to enjoy the physical part of their relationship, but there’s nothing overtly sexy about it. They’re familiar with each other and act quite like a married couple at times. Jacquelyn Mitchard also continues to rely on the fade-to-black, or the what comes after the, uh, fun stuff (i.e., the cuddle period). They’re so much like a married couple that they call each other cutesy nicknames nickname. The term “honey” is used so much between the two that the word started to lose meaning about halfway through the book.

Talky Talk: Did I Miss Something?

Mitchard has a very unusual writing style. It’s so fast-paced that I frequently had to double back a few sentences and read them again, a lot slower, to figure out what it was that I thought I’d missed. It’s not that she left stuff out—all the details are there—but reading the book almost felt like I was reading someone’s train of thought, which switched tracks or sped up/slowed down depending upon the situation. Allie’s a decently realistic character, but Rob’s less so. Much of this was due to language, like I mentioned above, that didn’t seem realistic for two teenage kids to be using.

Bonus Factor: Awesome Grownups

Awesome Grown Ups-2

Gideon Brave Bear, owner of Gitchee Pizza; Bonnie Sommers Olsen, Allie’s “regular” doctor; and Jackie, Allie’s mom, are all examples of superawesome adults. Gideon protects Allie like she’s his daughter, and helps her out often, no questions asked. Bonnie listens to Allie honestly, and doesn’t belittle Allie’s suspicions of Garrett. Jackie is overprotective and a little nutty, but she loves Allie so. dang. much. (And lets her do pretty much anything she wants, which would be a little lax in the real-life parenting department, me thinks, but is a pretty great quality in a fictional parent.)

Casting Call:

I’m going to change the original casting for Allie. It’s not that I don’t like Shailene Woodley, but let’s give somebody else a chance in a YA adaptation.

Kristin Kruek

Young Kristin Kreuk as Allie

Allie is mostly caucasian, but is also part Chinese. Her Asian heritage doesn’t come across in her looks that much, but is present in the shape of her facial features. Kristin is half Chinese and could pull off Allie’s auburn hair. Plus, she’s been known to make questionable, emotion-driven choices in some of her roles.

Tom Welling

Young Tom Welling as Rob

Rob is described as being athletic and extremely muscular with pale skin and floppy dark hair. It was only natural to think of Tom in this role, particularly after casting Kristin as Allie (#becauseSmallville).

Relationship Status: You Lost Me

Although I liked the idea of you, Book, we just didn’t connect on any sort of deep level. I found it hard at times not to roll my eyes at your annoyingly earnest descriptions of weird sports that I just don’t see the appeal of, and the conclusion of your action dragged. In a plot filled with almost suspense, I could have used a little more actual action.

What We Lost in the Dark will be available Dec. 17.

Mandy lives in Austin, TX, where she's an editor/writer for an educational non-profit by day and a pop culture junkie by night. When she's not ensconced in a book for Forever Young Adult, Mandy can be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.