Published by Merit Press on December 16th 2015
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository
It's the era of peace and love in the 1960s, but nothing is peaceful in Caroline's life. Since her beautiful older sister disappeared, fifteen-year-old Caroline might as well have disappeared too. She's invisible to her parents, who can't stop blaming each other. The police keep following up on leads even Caroline knows are foolish. The only one who seems to care about her is Tony, her sister's older boyfriend, who soothes Caroline's desperate heart every time he turns his magical blue eyes on her.
Tony is convinced that the answer to Jess's disappearance is in California, the land of endless summer, among the street culture of 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, in a heartfelt thriller that never lets up.
Wow, this book was pretty intense! Going into it, I was definitely expecting that to be the case considering I knew that it was based on “The Pied Piper of Tuscan.” Having that knowledge going in, I knew from the beginning who the killer was going to be and I doubt it really is that much of a secret honestly. I think the intense part of the story really comes from the main character Caroline and whether or not she is able to see for herself the truth about the people around her. I wanted to yell at Caroline many times throughout the novel because she was seriously naive and way too trusting. However, I also think that’s realistic because often times, we tend to only see the good in people even if it’s obvious to everyone else that the person is completely dangerous. While not my favorite book, this was still a quality coming of age story that was a quick read that I enjoyed.
I was hoping that the 60’s would be a bigger part of the story! I love the decade and that was one of the key reasons I was drawn to this book. Yes, there were a few moments where 60’s music was listened to by Caroline, but for the most part, it was easy to forget what decade it was taking place in. The language in general felt more modern to me than I was expecting. Maybe that’s a picky thing that other people will hardly notice, but it just bothered me some.
Towards the end, the book gets crazy intense! I honestly had no idea what was going to happen. I really liked how Emily Ross chose to end the book though. I felt like it was a good way to wrap everything up. So all in all, I liked this book, but didn’t totally love it. I think it’s a good portrayal of a girl growing up and figuring out her way through life. That sounds like such a typical plot, but I promise it’s more unique and well written than it sounds! I recommend this book to readers who like intense thrilling books that keep you glued to the page.
I cheated a little on this because I actually interviewed Emily Ross for YA Reads Debut Author Bash and I asked her to name some 60’s songs that summed up the book. While all of these songs were mentioned by the author, all the descriptions are my own thoughts on the song and how they connect to the book.
As Tears Goes By – The Rolling Stones
While Emily Ross mentions the Marianne Faithfull version, I’m a sucker for the original track by the Stones. This song is also featured in the book in a pretty important scene for Caroline, so I feel like it’s very fitting, either version that you choose to listen to really!
Pied Piper – Crispian St. Peters
I’d actually never heard this song before! But I think it’s ridiculously appropriate for this specific case.
I’m Looking Through You – The Beatles
You know that no music list for something that takes place in the 60’s would be complete without a song by this classic band. I absolutely adore this song, though it’s not the most popular song from them. It’s just very fitting when discussing the character of Caroline and her confusing feelings about what’s true and what isn’t.
“People never look too close. And not just little kids. Everyone wants to believe in magic.”
“I want to believe in magic too, but not the silly little trick kind. I want to do real magic.”
“I believe you can do anything if you learn the right tricks.”
“And when our eyes met, his loneliness became a part of me. It was love.”
“I’ve been half in love with easeful Death.”
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. Find out more at http://www.emilyrosswrites.com/ or https://twitter.com/emilyross816.