Saturday, June 03, 2023

Book Review: EMILY'S LIST

Title: Emily’s List

Author: Sean Platt and David W Wright

Publisher: Sterling & Stone

Pages: 343

My GoodReads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Cora and her mother are moving from Las Orillas in California to a small town in Washington after the death of her horror novelist, father.


It’s a small town, far from Las Orillas where you could get [hit by a car or a stray bullet.] Her mom assures her that this will be a good start for both of them, that Cora will like it here. But Cora knows that can’t be true. Her worst fears are confirmed when Kaycee, the prettiest girl in school, and her clique, begin to mock and tease Cora inside and outside class. Cora befriends Alen, her next door neighbour, but he lies to her and hangs out with Kaycee and her friends. Cora has no friends at all until she meets Emily, a home-schooled girl of her age, in a treehouse in the woods behind her house.


Cora’s problems are slowly gaining steam. Best friend Kris, back home in Las Orillas, is back in a relationship with bad boy Tyler, and has no time for Cora. Then Cora comes to know that Emily has been dead over a year and that she killed her parents before killing herself.


The novel is written in the first person present tense PoV of Cora Gray. Right away, we know that Cora is a complicated character. She suffers from OCDs and tics, and is biracial in a town of white folk. She gets back OCD thoughts which she feels compelled to unthink four times, while blinking. She takes a lot of pills, for depression, anxiety, hallucinations and for OCD. And she can see and talk to ghosts. She’s also done time in a mental health institution, after her mum feared that she might harm herself, which she does. She cuts and burns herself. She also has a secret, something her mother might hate her for, if she only knew.


Cora’s inner voice, now supportive, now provocative and belittling, but always emphatic in all-caps was a delight to read, as were her thoughts in italics.


There was a delicious air of the paranormal about this book. It was never outright scary, but it was suggestive enough for middle-grade children.


I didn’t like Alex. He struck me as fake, lying too often and hobnobbing with Kaycee and her friends.


The sections of the narrative that deal with the events in school are described well.


The writing was good. Here’s a sample:


We can’t always see people’s damage. Even the most perfect lives can be facades.


The book could be a trigger for vulnerable individuals on the issue of rape, sexual assault and self-harm.

(I read this book on NetGalley. Thank you to the author, the publisher and NetGalley.) 

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