Title: The Telling
Author: Alexandra Sirowy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Date of Publication: August 2016
Genre: YA Contemporary, Horror/Thriller/Mystery
Page Count: 389
ISBN: 9781481418898 (hardback)
“Lana used to know what was real.
That was before, when her life was small and quiet.
Her golden stepbrother, Ben, was alive.
She could only dream about bonfiring with the populars.
Their wooded island home was idyllic, she could tell the truth from lies, and Ben’s childhood stories were firmly in her imagination.
Then came after.
After has Lana boldly kissing her crush, jumping into the water from too high up, living with nerve and mischief.
But after also has horrors, deaths that only make sense in fairy tales, and terrors from a past Lana thought long forgotten: Love, blood, and murder.”
I picked this book as my Five Star Prediction read for Contemporaryathon. Sadly, I was greatly disappointed.
“For the girls who are sharks, and those who are kittens, and those who are heroes, and those who are villains.”
The Telling is about a teen named Lana becoming a different person after she witnesses her stepbrother’s murder. Before his murder she was a quiet “kitten”, worried about what other’s thought of her, spending most of her time with her close friend Willa. After his murder she’s becoming a more confident “shark”, hanging out with the popular group of friends known as “the core”: Josh, Carolyn, Rusty, Duncan, and Becca.
My favourite characters are Lana’s stepbrother Ben, a good guy who couldn’t stand living on rich Gant Island after volunteering in Guatemala, and Lana’s best friend Willa, studious, cool-minded, and not impressed by “the core”.
I liked the paranormal aspect of Ben’s stories coming to life. It was a page-turner, but only because I guessed who the killer was really early on, and wanted to find out if I was right (hoping that I was wrong so I could be surprised).
I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters, and wasn’t upset when any of them were in danger. Detective Sweeny and Wood are flat, uninteresting, one-dimensional, typical good cop/bad cop.
It’s disappointing that we never get to meet “Skitzy-Fitzy“, even though he’s mentioned multiple times.
I was really confused when the parents let Detective Sweeny and Wood interview Lana, Willa, and “the core” without a parent or lawyer in the room. The detectives told Lana details about Maggie’s death during the interview which I think should have been kept private. It felt extremely unbelievable that a detective would be giving a suspect that much information about a possible homicide.
The Telling felt like a cheesy horror novel with stereotypical characters that lack real emotion. Pardon the pun, but The Telling did just that – too much “telling”, not enough “showing”.
Even though I didn’t like it, a lot of my friends on Goodreads did. So don’t take my word for it! I recommend The Telling to readers who are into YA horror/mystery stories.
“I WRITE ABOUT GIRLS WHO RESCUE THEMSELVES, TRUE LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, SECRETS AND LIES, AND MONSTERS AND HEROES THAT LOOK LIKE ME AND YOU.”