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I Belong


Review: Dead To Me by Mary McCoy

Dead To MeTitle: Dead to Me

Author: Mary McCoy

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Series: N/A

Publication Date: March 3, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages

ISBN-10: 1423187121 (Disney-Hyperion)

ISBN-13: 978-1423187127 (Disney-Hyperion)

Reviewed by: Zed

Synopsis: 

“Don’t believe anything they say.”

Those were the last words that Annie spoke to Alice before turning her back on their family and vanishing without a trace. Alice spent four years waiting and wondering when the impossibly glamorous sister she idolized would return to her–and what their Hollywood-insider parents had done to drive her away.

When Annie does turn up, the blond, broken stranger lying in a coma has no answers for her. But Alice isn’t a kid anymore, and this time she won’t let anything stand between her and the truth, no matter how ugly. The search for those who beat Annie and left her for dead leads Alice into a treacherous world of tough-talking private eyes, psychopathic movie stars, and troubled starlets–and onto the trail of a young runaway who is the sole witness to an unspeakable crime. What this girl knows could shut down a criminal syndicate and put Annie’s attacker behind bars–if Alice can find her first. And she isn’t the only one looking.

Evoking classic film noir, debut novelist Mary McCoy brings the dangerous glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age to life, where the most decadent parties can be the deadliest, and no drive into the sunset can erase the crimes of past.

Quick & Dirty: Such an action-packed read; filled with page-turning mysteries and family dramas.

Opening Sentence: When I saw my sister in that hospital bed, she was different from how I remembered her. She’d changed her hair. Her cheeks were leaner. And someone had tried to cave in the side of her head with a baseball bat.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

After four years of zero contact, Alice comes face to face with her older sister, Annie, only to find her broken at the hospital, fighting for her life. Since Annie’s disappearance, Alice’s life changed for the worst; she distanced from her parents and her friends and became a distrusting, skeptical girl. Deep down, she always hoped that the sister she played spy games with would return and their family would be whole again, but with Annie’s changed re-appearance, it’s clear that fantasy will never come true.

I very much enjoyed this book because despite the crazy circumstances, Alice felt so real. She’s not cut out for this mystery, it’s far too dangerous for her but she’ll do what she can to help, even if it means using her childhood detective skills to save her sister. Along the way, Alice finds pieces and people from Annie’s new life, forcing her to realise that the beautiful older sister she had has changed to someone almost unrecognisable.

I would never have gone so far as to say that our parents loved her more than me, but it was clear they considered her more promising. Where Annie was “beautiful” and “smart,” I was “cute” and “clever.” Annie was charming; I was pleasant. Annie danced ballet and tap and took voice lessons, and I backed her up on the piano. And we both went to those awful parties.

The hurt Alice feels at not being part of Annie’s new life is palpable but throughout the mystery Alice travels her own journey of self-discovery. She’s no longer the adorable little sister who used to sing at her parents’ parties.

Alice’s courage in the face of danger and the constant twists and turns kept me on the edge of my seat. I doubted most of the characters’ agendas because it was clear they all had secrets. Alice didn’t know any of them well enough to trust but at the same time she had no choice but to trust them because she needed all the help she could get.

I loved that Alice was no Sherlock Holmes, she’s bumbling her way along, trying to piece clues together and making so many mistakes it would be funny if it wasn’t terrifying. Despite her flaws, it’s clear how much Alice loves her sister and that she’ll go to any lengths to make Annie proud even though she envies these broken girls who her sister cares so much for; the girls Annie chose to care for whilst leaving Alice behind.

Clearly, Annie had been wronged and I’m aware that she went through some unimaginably hard times, but I still detested her for Alice’s sake. She didn’t want Alice mixed up in her new life because of the danger it posed, but it was because of her that Alice was left so vulnerable. Annie was trying to protect Alice but she forgot that Alice needed a sister’s love more, and I guess I hated Annie for this.

“Jerry doesn’t have friends. He has a cabinet full of broken dolls like your sister. And he acts like he wants to fix them, but the truth of it is, Alice, I think he likes them broken.”

There was a sadness to this book that I find hard to explain. Annie’s reunion with her family and Alice managing to bring justice for all the girls that fell prey to Donahue should have been cause for a happy occasion but although it is a victory, it’s one that came with a lot of pain. An excellent thrilling read, with an almost Nancy Drew-like mystery, I look forward to reading more from this author.

Notable Scene:

“This was never about you, Alice.”

She said it as kindly as you could say something like that. I could tell she tried to make her voice gentle, but her words still cut me because I knew they were true. Terrible things had happened, and because of them, my big sister had disappeared. That she could have been more careful with my heart and her promises was the least important thing about it.

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FTC Advisory: Disney-Hyperion/Hachette provided me with a copy of Dead to Me. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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