Half in Love with Death
Author: Emily Ross
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Release Date: December 18, 2015
Publisher: Merit Press
Rating: 4 Stars!
Tony is convinced that the answer to Jess's disappearance is in California, the land of endless summer, among the runaways and flower children. Come with me, Tony says to Caroline, and we'll find her together. Tony is so loving, and all he cares about is bringing Jess home. And so Caroline follows, and closes a door behind her that may never open again.
Inspired by the disturbing case of Charles Schmid, ‘the Pied Piper of Tucson’, Half in Love with Death is a heartfelt thriller that never lets up.
Half in Love with Death is a riveting suspense novel set in the 1960s. I'm not a big reader of YA contemporary fiction and even less so when it comes to historical books. After reading the description, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it or not. I'm so glad that I took a chance with it! It was a lot better than I was expecting or even hoping it would be. The 1960s setting plays a decently large part in the book, but it wasn't overwhelming and didn't distract me from the real plot of the story, like I was afraid it might do. Once I realized that the book wasn't going to be centered around the era it was set in, I easily slipped inside the story and didn't come back out until I had finished.
The characters are all well rounded with some cliches - especially in the minor characters. Our main character - Caroline - is incredibly realistic and easy to identify with. The story is told in the first person point of view - from Caroline's perspective - which allows the reader to form a close bond with her throughout the story. I'm a huge advocate for first person POV in books because I believe it lets the reader get a much deeper understanding of the narrator along with learning things about them that wouldn't be possible in any other writing style. With Caroline as the narrator, we get to know the real her - all of her memories, thoughts, dreams, fears, hopes, and so much more. The reader is able to connect with her on a much deeper level than any other writing style, and she becomes very real and easier to identify with. I loved watching Caroline grow and mature throughout the novel. She changes in several different ways and areas of her life - from her friends and family relationships to her love life and believing in herself and her instincts. The book was a true thriller that had me eagerly reading each page to see what was going to happen next. There's plenty of twists and turns that kept me on my toes, and I loved trying to figure out what really happened before it was revealed. The writing was well done and had the perfect amount of imagery and description to transport the reader into Caroline's world without overwhelming them. I definitely recommend this book to fans of YA fiction - especially those who enjoy suspense, mystery, thrillers, historical/era fiction, and contemporary romance.
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Emily Ross's YA mystery/thriller HALF IN LOVE WITH DEATH is forthcoming from Merit Press (12/2015). She received a 2014 MCC Artist Fellowship finalist award for fiction, and is a graduate of Grub Street's Novel Incubator program. When not writing she works as a web developer and is the mother of two millennials.