Book Review: The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy

by - 7:33:00 PM

Title: The Telling
Author: Alexandra Sirowy
Pages: 400
Genre: YA Thriller
Release Date: 02 August 2016

From Goodreads: "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."

The Telling was initially on my Spookathon 2016 TBR and while I ended up completely failing at that read-a-thon, (I think read-a-thons are my Kryptonite) I did actually read this book and I am very excited to finally get to share my thoughts and feelings about it!

This book follows Lana McBrook, a girl who has just recently lost her step-brother, Ben. She's finally gotten herself out of bed and back out into the world, a state of mind she refers to as after. Now, Lana is jumping off of high cliffs into water and finally admitting to her crush that she likes him. After Lana is braver and bolder than Before Lana, After Lana takes chances and is trying to move on from Ben's death. But when Lana and her new friends discover a dead body at the bottom of a spring, their lives begin to change forever. Mysterious deaths begin to occur all over the quiet little island of Gant, and Lana slowly realizes that someone is bringing the stories that Ben used to tell her to life. Will she be able to solve the mystery behind all of the killings before she ends up as the next target?

I ended up having mixed feelings about this book. While I certainly didn't end the book on a sour note, I do feel like it could have gone a number of different ways. At times, I had trouble progressing because it felt like the book was moving quite slow. But on the other hand, I really enjoyed the slow build up style that this was written in. I think that it really benefited from moving at a slow pace rather than making things happen really fast and all at once. It allowed the reader to build up suspicions of everyone, and question whether things were as they seemed at first glance. There were multiple times where I thought I knew what was going to happen, or who the killer was, and then things just turned upside down and took me by surprise. I found myself talking out loud to Lana more than I should admit, but I was so drawn into the world that I couldn't help it!

There was so much detail on every page and it really allowed me to put myself in Lana's world and really see what was happening. I felt like I was with Lana and the Core every step of the way. It's clear that the author put so much time and effort into building up this creepy and unsure world and I loved every second that I spent there. My favorite part about this book was the writing and world building by Alexandra Sirowy, hands down. The environment that was created was eerie and everything around Lana gave off a menacing vibe, like nothing and no one was safe. I found myself in a constant state of wondering just what was hiding out in the world and with every turn of the page, I had no idea what would happen. Its been quite a while since I've found myself so spooked by a book that I was hesitant to turn to the next page! But the writing was just so beautifully terrifying that I found myself flying through the pages every time I sat down to read it. This is one of the most descriptive and well-written books I've read all year, and I absolutely loved it.

Lana was an incredibly unreliable narrator and for that reason, she was the perfect person to have as the main character. With the way that the book was written, there was no doubt that the main character needed to be the type that you constantly questioned if they were really mentally stable enough. I spent a large portion of the book wondering if it was all in Lana's head and had many theories about her involvement in what was happening around Gant. From chapter to chapter, you can almost watch Lana's mental state get worse and worse and it really makes you question if any of the events that have been happening are real or if they are happening the way Lana says they're happening. I enjoyed all of the ups and downs that you experience with Lana as a narrator, and the slow growth that happens with her character throughout the book. By the end, she was almost a completely different character, not Before or After Lana, but just Lana, and I absolutely loved her development from start to finish.

As I stated earlier, I found myself talking out loud to Lana quite often as I read through this book. When I got to the end, I was almost shouting, "No way, holy crap, no way, no way, is this really happening?!" It's not often that I find books where I can get so immersed into the world that I'll talk out loud to the characters or say things about the book as I read. While I did have mixed feelings about The Telling, I really did end up enjoying it. The plot was very well written and played out fairly slow, but not slow enough to where I found myself bored while reading. All of the characters, especially the Core, were never left behind and had a lot more depth to them than I expected from side characters. With the unpredictability of this book, I found myself constantly suspicious of all of the members of the Core and even parents of the group. I never knew what to expect so I suspected that no one was what they seemed to be. While they weren't vicious killers, they all had their own secrets to hide and some of them were definitely not as they appeared at first glance. What made this book so perfect was the unknown. You don't know if your narrator or their friends is telling the truth, or even if the adults are, you don't know if anyone is who they claim to be, and you don't know who or what is hiding in the dark.

If you're looking for a book that is full of descriptive, scary, and beautiful writing with a narrator that is questionable and unreliable, then The Telling is for you. It has twists and turns with every flips of the page and an ending that will leave you wanting more. The Telling is a roller coaster ride of chills and thrills that you'll never want to get off of!

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