Saturday, 30 June 2018

Book Review - Whistle in the Dark

Title: Whistle in the Dark
Author: Emma Healey
Publisher: Viking
Release Date: 3 May 2018
ISBN-13: 978-0241327623

Jen and Hugh Maddox have just survived every parent’s worst nightmare.
Relieved, but still terrified, they sit by the hospital bedside of their fifteen-year-old daughter, Lana, who was found bloodied, bruised, and disoriented after going missing for four days during a mother-daughter vacation in the country. As Lana lies mute in the bed, unwilling or unable to articulate what happened to her during that period, the national media speculates wildly and Jen and Hugh try to answer many questions.
Where was Lana? How did she get hurt? Was the teenage boy who befriended her involved? How did she survive outside for all those days? Even when she returns to the family home and her school routine, Lana only provides the same frustrating answer over and over: “I can’t remember.”
For years, Jen had tried to soothe the depressive demons plaguing her younger child, and had always dreaded the worst. Now she has hope—the family has gone through hell and come out the other side. But Jen cannot let go of her need to find the truth. Without telling Hugh or their pregnant older daughter Meg, Jen sets off to retrace Lana’s steps, a journey that will lead her to a deeper understanding of her youngest daughter, her family, and herself.

My Review
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I've never actually read Emma Healey, I know her first novel was very popular but isn't really my go to genre. However this arrived and I thought it sounded interesting. The cover is very pretty and when you take the jacket off the book is embossed with birds, it's a nice effect -they've really worked on the presentation, I just hoped the inside would match up to it.
I started to read and was instantly intrigued, I wanted to know what had happened to Lana and how her parents were going to cope with the aftermath of it all. The book is narrated by her mother who I found to be funny, slightly neurotic, a bit of a hypocrite, totally insecure but very likeable - she was human, she gave off a real feeling of the sort of personality a real mother in her situation would be. Sometimes she was annoying and I wanted to shake her but other times she was very endearing, but all of her actions had an origin and a point to them, it is her way of dealing with the situation - not only the days of panic and grief when Lana was missing, but the not knowing what happened to her when she was gone. Lana also suffers from depression and has made suicide attempts in the past so Jen still has that worry on her mind - every time Lana leaves she wonders if she will see her again.
This book deals with some very sensitive and very sincere issues in a compassionate and concise way, it didn't feel like I was being preached at or warned or scared, but informed and understanding about the characters problems and how they do effect others. 
Lana herself is very closed off, she's quiet, doesn't want to engage and seems very unsure of herself, you could feel her pain and misery without even knowing the full story, despite her problems though she still has a wicked sense of humour and loves to wind up her mum, she's quite tongue in cheek.
The Dad doesn't make much of an appearance but when he is you can tell that he is a big support for both his daughter and his wife but also a voice of reason and he has some of the best one-liners in the book, I actually laughed out loud at times.
I read this book in 2 days, I had to know what was going to happen. There is quite a lot of descriptive text but to me it didn't feel slow or dragging, it all just helped set the scene and characters and I found myself turning the pages and racing through the story. I stayed up til almost Midnight to finish it as I just couldn't wait to find the truth of what happened to Lana.
Part of me was hoping for a more dramatic ending, some great revelation that no one was expecting, but then again the ending also felt right - you could completely understand why the author went that way and it did fit with Lana's character, it all made perfect sense and I loved that her mother was the one to discover the truth. 
This story is quite sad, but very moving and really makes you feel for the characters. It is a book that will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions but it will be a ride you won't forget. I really enjoyed Healey's writing style and would definitely read other books by her.

My Rating

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