by Sonya Hartnett
As a quick note: I’m going to spoil the ending of this one. So, PLEASE don’t read unless you mind knowing how things are going to end. But I don’t think I can properly discuss this book without spoiling it. So, you know, proceed with caution. (I’ll mark where the spoilers start accordingly.)
Brief Summary: Gabriel is dying a slow and painful death – entirely too young. As he’s living out his final days, he’s reflecting on his sad and rather miserable life. And that life is fearfully tied to the town’s hellmaker – and Gabriel’s only friend.
Kell’s Chatty Review: Talk about an unreliable narrator.
Printz Thoughts: I completely, totally understand why this was a Printz honoree. The writing is beautiful. And, really, the story is woven incredibly well. The terror of the unknown – the confusion – is literally gripping. However, this went just a touch over the confusion edge for my personal taste. As boring as it might seem, I don’t like ending a book with a large question mark and a loud “huh?” After a bit of thinking, I have a few guesses as to what might have really been happening, but you’ll have to proceed below the spoiler line to figure that one out!
SPOILERS WILL BE BELOW. PLEASE DON’T BLAME ME FOR RUINING THE ENDING. IT’S YOUR CHOICE.
Unreliable narrators: So, we were obviously dealing with an unreliable narrator here. I mean, I should have figured that out when he said he was dying and probably a bit delusional. But wowzah.
Vernon: Obviously, the foreboding was really strong about Finnigan but I never saw the death of Vernon coming the way it did. I mean, I knew SOMETHING had happened, but I just guessed that it had been the parents fault. And, really, it was. I mean, could you get any less caring than those two parents?
Finnigan: I also felt incredibly terrible for Finnigan. And Surrender. No matter what the ending revealed, it really was rather terrible life and death for all involved in this book.
My best guess: As to what actually happened in this book was the fact Gabriel went a little crazy after Vernon died and developed a split personality. Said split personality became Finnigan. And in Gabriel’s delusional state, the division between the two became even more unclear – until the big reveal of that terrible, gruesome end. My second guess was that his parents knew this – which hurt FAR more than it helped. (And I’m sure they would agree.)
But the worst part: Even with the gruesome murders (both intentional and not) and all that was Surrender’s death. That was one of the most terrible, horrible things I have read. And it made any sympathy I had for that father completely disappear.
SPOILERS OVER! AS YOU WERE!
What I most wanted to do after reading this book: Read something cheerful and happy because, yowzah this one was a bit of an emotional mess.
Where this book came from: The library! Woot for free books!