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Monday, August 9, 2010

Review: Dark Song (Giles)

Title: Dark Song
Author: Giles
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Families, Crime
Pages: 304
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Ames' life has completely changed in the last few months.  Her father lost his job and started drinking.  Her mother, so afraid of being poor, has turned into a lunatic, screaming at everyone and selling valuables.  When Ames finds out that her dad stole from clients and was fired, and then gambled and lost what money they did have left, Ames is angry with her family for not being honest about the true extent of their problems.  Now she must leave her private school, her family must sell everything, including their house, and move to live with grandparents she never knew she had.
And don't think things won't get worse for Ames, because they do.  The house grandma and grandpa offer them is a small run-down rental house, in disgusting condition, that Ames and her family must clean and fix-up.
 
But there is a bright spot...she meets a boy...named Marc. Marc loves her, and will do anything to protect her.  He has a gun collection and he is willing to use it.  Ames feels her parents have betrayed her with their lies, but is she prepared to make the ultimate betrayal against them?

Giles is quite adept at psychological thrillers for the teen crowd, a master really, and this is no exception.  It is a well-paced page turner that you will not be able to put down.  The first chapter lets you know that something is coming, but then you get sucked into the story and forget that you've been warned about evil until it comes back to hit you in the face.  Marc is truly a creepy character and while he is supposed to be the villain (trust me), he sometimes feels like a hero.  I felt that the characters in this book were real, as were their problems.  There are many families in this situation and I think the timeliness of the financial crisis will lend realism to the story.  My favorite character was actually Ames' grandma (her mom's mom, that we meet in the beginning of the story).  She sure has some fire to her, and some great lines, and actually reminds me quite a bit of one of my grandmas.

So, if I'm saying all these good things, why did I only give it 3 1/2 stars?  I LOVE Gail Giles and all of her titles.  "Dead Girls Don't Write Letters" is probably my favorite, with "What Happened to Cass McBride?" a close second.  But I think, in the end, this book did not resonate with me as much as those titles did.  Perhaps you should not compare a book with the author's previous works, or the book you wish the author had written, but on it's own merits?  Unfortunately, I just can't seem to do that in this case. 

But I can see many teens I know giving this a hands-down 5 out of 5! 

What do you think?  Judge each book as a stand-alone or compare to the author's other titles?  

2 comments:

Erika said...

Oooh great review! I'm adding this to my TBR :)

While I try to critique books as stand-alones, there are times when I can't help but compare a book with other works of its author.

Mrs. Yusko said...

Would love to know what you think about the book Erika, and whether you've read any of the author's other books. Keep me posted!

 

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