Date to be Published: November 20, 2018
Author: Kevin Emerson
Add it on Goodreads
Number of Pages: 400
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
This was such a deep and dark book that dealt with issues both psychological and physical. I don't know what's been going on lately. I've been picking up books that deal with psychological and mental issues. I mean it's not necessarily bad but it kind of gets you messed up. Does that make sense? This book may have not cut me as bad as "The fall of Innocence" but it still sliced me open.
Eli and Maya come from two different worlds but yet are made of the same mindset. Eli was kidnapped at the age of 11 and then 5 years reappears in the form of a bomb in the middle of the mall surrounded by his own mind and what he was brainwashed to do.
Enter Maya. Always been plagued by anxiety but is at the mall with her father waiting in line to get his picture re-taken on his driver's license. She see's Eli in a kids wolf mask holding his thumb down on a bomb. Soon the two's world collides and they're both drawn together in keeping the bomb from exploding; saving not only their lives but everyone else's.
Flash forward 8 months. Eli and Maya have not seen each other since that fateful day and now are thrown in the same school. Both their families not wanting to do with the other but the tension flies with the two. Eli's captor has yet to be found and Maya's anxiety has only gotten worse. To top that off there's a certain threat looming over their school. Can they heal not only themselves but save others from their fate.
The main focus of the book is the survival of Eli and Maya's mind. They both have a tormented mind and are living on the outside. They both make bad decisions but each one learns from them or at least tries to. The threat of "Gabriel" Eli's captor is what drives Eli to the point of fear. He has all of this brainwashing from him (5 years worth). He keeps thinking what Gabriel would think and hardly has thoughts of his own. He lives in fear almost the entire book, which was devastating at times to read. And Maya, she lives in the constant play-over of the almost detonation of the mall bomb. She resorts to picking her cuticles and pulling her hair out. It was really fascinating to see how each character adapted to what their life gave them. Some were braver than others while others could barely keep their heads above water. The plot itself, was pretty much predictable. I guessed the twists before they were revealed and I knew pretty much how this would end. Though the ending left me with a few questions unanswered. Were we as the reader supposed to draw our own conclusions? Or perhaps there's another sequel in the works? It's always hard to know for sure when reading an ARC.
The romance wasn't a thing in this book. Don't get me wrong there were relationships but this book wasn't about that. This book is all about trying to heal and be comfortable with who you are. So romance definitely wasn't the focus of this book.
Eli was a weak character to me but was considered one of the protagonists (or antagonist in his mind). I know he went through a lot but it wasn't like he was really trying to get better most of the book. He annoyed me at times too and was so naive. But again he was taken as an eleven year old and grew in a very sheltered life for five years. So, of course he's going to be naive. But then again there is such a thing as common sense. Some of the things he was witnessing should've been addressed immediately and I would hope an average person would address them right away. Maya was a pretty good character. I could relate to her in some ways when it came to her anxiety. We both just had different ways of dealing with it. She was weak at times as well but stronger in some areas. I still don't think we got her whole back story before this story even started but I guess that was meant to be. The other secondary characters like Eli's first friend and Maya's friend were brought in and out at the right moments. Though the parents left me yearning for a few better traits....but Eli's sister was one of my favorite secondary characters because she brought the relief the reader needed at just the right moments.
Transformation of the Character:
Both Eli and Maya did some transforming, some more in some areas than others. But I think out of the two Maya did the most transforming. She had so much stacked against her (the main thing being herself). But by the end she seemed to be different in some areas but same in others. Eli on the other hand seemed to struggle with this part of the book.
The description was well thought out. The imagery of Eli and Maya's emotions really painted what it was like being them. To feel what it was like being in extreme sensory situations. The feeling of feeling desperate and out of control when nothing seems to work to rope you back in. Mr.Emerson painted a kaleidoscope of emotions in this book and allowed the reader to experience emotional situations that the reader might never have been in before. The description of the scenes was well thought out and I could detect some foreshadowing at times as well. And the psychology of the book could've used a little bit more research. I feel like some areas in Eli's perspective could've used some more detail. Like perhaps Eli reacted in certain situations a little too dramatic or maybe not dramatic enough. Of course, I'm no psychologist so my opinion on this area could be off.
This was written in first person and in Eli and Maya's point of view. Being written in first person allowed us as the reader to experience and view the character's perspective. I really liked that Mr.Emerson did this. I think if it had been written any other form, we wouldn't have been able to understand Eli and Maya's world. To be able to see how they perceived themselves around others. And the back and forth of Eli's and Maya's point of view allowed the story to flow and be experienced at it's optimal level. Mr.Emerson's writing was really well thought out and unique. I've never read any of his previous books so I went into this blind in that perspective. But I enjoyed it and think I would definitely enjoy reading more of his writing.
Quote of the Book:
" "Innocence is ignorance. And the ignorant are complicit. You are not longer one of the sheep, are you?"
I shake my head..."I am a wolf.""
I really enjoyed this book and look forward in seeing what others think of it too. There's so much for this book to offer so I hope some of you take a chance on it. It definitely provided me with insight to a person's soul and the crippling side affects of anxiety (and let's be honest I really do know the crippling side affects of anxiety). But this is definitely a book to read if into the concept of psychology. When November 20th comes, go download or order this book, it sure will break you and put you back together in a new way; a way that will leave you more beautiful and stronger.