Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Book Review: Dark Rooms by Lili Anolik

From Goodreads:
Death sets the plot in motion: the murder of Nica Baker, beautiful, wild, enigmatic, and only sixteen. The crime is solved, and quickly—a lonely classmate, unrequited love, a suicide note confession—but memory and instinct won’t allow Nica’s older sister, Grace, to accept the case as closed.

Dropping out of college and living at home, working at the moneyed and progressive private high school in Hartford, Connecticut, from which she recently graduated, Grace becomes increasingly obsessed with identifying and punishing the real killer.
Another entry in my compendium of Gone Girl wannabes.  It's an attempt do capture the dark literary thriller thing that has been done so well by Gillian Flynn and Meg Abbott, but doesn't quite make it to the same level.  It's decent and I can really appreciate a book with unlikable characters, but this one didn't have the depth or surprise that I think the more literary authors bring to the table.

Entertainment Value
I was all on board to recommend this book as a less than literary but fun to read thriller until the last fifty pages or so, when I sent a quick "changed my mind" text to everyone I'd been telling to pick it up.  If you're still wanting to read, spoilers are coming, so click away now.

Did you click away?  Last chance!

Ok, so a large part of Grace's character revolves around her having been raped after her sister's murder with a resulting pregnancy.  It's during the last fifty or so pages that we learn that the boy who has been Grace's love interest throughout the book is actually her rapist.  Not only that, but he's apparently the good kind of rapist, who is really sorry and still wants to be with Grace.  They stay together in what is supposed to be a believably troubled happily ever after.  What I mean is, they don't ride off in the sunset in a carriage after a royal wedding, but they ARE a couple, working on their "issues".  Conveniently Grace loses the baby as a result of drug use - no need to plumb the touchy subject of abortion OR saddle the happy couple with any consequences for their actions.  This earns a big old "Nope" from me in regards to any entertainment value the book previously possessed.  It's not ok, it's not romantic, it's not a prelude to a working relationship.  Nothing about it is acceptable, and I'm not exaggerating when I say it ruined the book for me.

I think "nope" is the best summary I've got for this one.  Do not recommend.

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