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 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.
What I liked: There's a good mystery here and the reader will wonder where to place the blame. After the loss of her stepbrother, Lana's pain and confusion seeps through the pages, and I felt it with her. When she is unable to distinguish reality from dreams/imagination at times, I began to wonder if she might be an unreliable narrator, which added to the suspense. This author does an excellent job with description and I could see, feel, and smell the idyllic life on the island, the warm summer days on the beach or boat, the bonfires at night. I wanted to live there.
Not so much: There's a good mystery - that being said, with the exception of Josh and Willa, these characters are so unlikable that I didn't care who killed them. Yes, they're high school students and with that comes the typical cliques and drama, but it quickly grew tiresome as Lana and other characters mentioned this so often. Very early in the book, I thought the relationship between Lana and another character was borderline creepy, which gave me some heavy clues about a major plot line. If more extensive details about that relationship and been revealed at a slower pace, it would have been a more enjoyable read for me.
Although this has a slow beginning with some tedious dialogue and exposition to wade through, The Telling is a suspenseful mystery that may keep you guessing and offers some eerie plot twists.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.