Lana used to know what was real.
That was before when her life was small and quiet. Her golden step-brother, 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, and 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.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy
I was definitely drawn into The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy because of two things: that amazing cover and the last line of the synopsis summarizing the book into three simple words, love, blood, and murder. Who doesn’t want to read about love, blood, and murder? Those are the three BEST things to read about! Certainly, I was not disappointed. In fact, Alexandra Sirowy blew me away with The Telling where now I’m hoping there could be a sequel for reasons I’ll talk about below.
Normally, if I read YA, it tends to be fantasy, so for me to pick up a contemporary YA book really felt like a nice break of pace. It honestly, at the start, reminded me a bit of Gossip Girl (the tv show, never got into the books). Rich, privileged, 17 year olds getting away with anything they want thanks to neglectful parents and legal system. Then you have Lana and Willa, the Brooklyn Gossip Girl crowd that somehow make their way into the cool kids group. I loved it to be honest! But, that was only the very first impression since within the first few pages, everything changes as Lana pulls a body out of the water. The body of a girl she hated.
As the book progresses, more people are killed connected to Lana, people Lana hated. Lana begins to doubt her sanity. I begin to doubt her sanity and secretly think she’s committing the crimes and just blacking out. Why would she do that, one might ask. Well, because off screen, before the book has started, her step-brother was murdered.
SPOILERS?? SPOILERS?? SPOILERS?? SPOILERS?? SPOILERS?? SPOILERS??
A STEP-BROTHER SHE WAS IN LOVE WITH!!! IS THIS A SPOILER I DON’T KNOW BUT HONESTLY I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT IT I JUST NEED TO LET IT OUT! I absolutely love that trope in books, siblings or step-siblings kinda falling in love with each other and not out of abuse or necessity, but naturally. So, I was just reading this and the masterful way Sirowy has Lana talk about Ben just places the barest hint that maybe her feelings were more than just sisterly. So, I waited, and read, and kept thinking please, let it be so, and it was!
Though, okay, that wasn’t what made me love the book. What actually made me love the book was the suspense and trying to figure out who was actually committing the murders and why. Then, trying to untangle Ben’s shadowy past to find out what led him and his mother to Lana and her father. The character development was well done, pacing was FANTASTIC!! Never once did I feel like it was going too slow, or too fast. It just continually had me wanting to know what would happen next.
The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy is a marvelous YA contemporary mystery novel that seems to do everything right. Characters are developed and progress naturally through the story, the plot and mystery are well thought out and written. It was simply a great book!
About the Author
Alexandra Sirowy was born in Northern California and grew up in Providence, Rhode Island and the San Francisco Bay Area. She attended a women’s college as an undergraduate and has a graduate degree in International Studies. She lives in Northern California with her husband. Visit her at alexandrasirowy.com.