Recommended for ages 16+
Calliope Knowles is a 16 year-old graphomaniac. For her, writing isn’t just a hobby – it’s something she’s compelled to do. When the mania hits, she needs her notebook and a red felt-tipped pen; she writes, in a trance, and the words, while almost poetic in structure, are unsettling. Possibly because they may be subconscious clues – Callie’s father is missing, along with a 12 year-old girl named Hannah. Callie was found in an abandoned apartment writing, “I KILLED HIM” all over the walls. Her mother is in a mental institution, after stabbing her abusive father only weeks before the disappearance.
Her father, a reverend at the Church of Holy Promise, was popular with his congregation, but was not a good man. Now, Callie, living with a foster family, is haunted by faulty memories that her subconscious is fighting to access. At the same time, she has a foster sister that she adores, but finds herself attracted to the same guy as she; she has a team of police and a therapist working with her to unravel the threads of her memory, and her mother seems to have a lot of secrets.
I thought this was a great book. I love a good mystery and I like an unreliable narrator/main character, because it keeps me guessing. Sasha Dawn has created an amazing series of layers for this story, with a main plot and several subplots running throughout, and always manages to keep all the balls in play. When revelations hit, time and time again, I was bowled over. This is a great summer read for teens who appreciate a good mystery and a story about identity. There are references to abuse, sex, and drug use, so I’m going to recommend an age of 16 for this one. If parents feel their child is mature enough to handle this subject matter at an earlier age, I’ll suggest age 14, but I really wouldn’t go younger. The book hits shelves on May 27, so put this one on your summer reading list.