Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Every Inferno by Johanna Parkhurst

I believe regular readers of this blog know that I love mysteries. So when I heard of this YA mystery, I jumped right in.

JJ is a troubled teen. After his parent's deaths due a fire in a movie theatre(only JJ survived - his sister was left at home at that time), life has just been going downhill for him. His sister got adopted by his mom's best friend and he's not allowed to see her, he has a drinking problem, he's not doing well in school - well, he's got a lot of trouble. But lately, he's been having this recurring dream where he see's the arsonist. Could solving the case of who burned the movie theatre provide the key to putting all his demons behind him?

What I loved about this book - the writing class. I never had a creative writing class that JJ has, which makes me really envious of him! What I wouldn't give to have attended a class where my classmates would "workshop" my work. Although I can understand his reluctance to share what he's written.

Apart from the writing class, from which I will now stop raving about, JJ was the perfect protagonist. He's troubled, he's flawed, but he has many positive traits. Such as his love for his baby sister, and his refusal to "rat out" his cousin, even though it came at the cost of his adoption (and hence the opportunity to live with his sister). I was really rooting for him from the first page.

And while I don't read boy/boy romances, I thought that his relationship was well-handled. It didn't convert me into a fan of the genre, but I wasn't overly bothered by it either.

The only part of the book that disappointed me was how the case was solved. It was too pat, and required too little detective work. It's not like an Agatha Christie, where there's a Poirot deducing and revealing things, it's not a police procedural, with clues being followed and evidence being gathered. There is one attempt at finding the criminal, which sort-of fails, one suspect, then all of a sudden, the criminal is found and everything ends. For such a well-written book, with such a likable protagonist, this flaw was almost too much to stand. Is it too much to ask for a proper mystery as well?

Overall, the book is well-written. If you think of it as a "discovering one's self, improve one's self" sort of book, then it hits the mark. But don't think of it as a mystery, you'll just set yourself up for disappointment.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book as part of Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for a free and honest review.

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