YOU KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO, by Bonnie Shimko
YOU KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO
Author: Bonnie Shimko
Rating: 2 out of 5
Genre: Young Adult
Format: ARC (Received copy, for an honest review)
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Recommended Reading: AGE 14+
*Contains some adult language
**Contains no spoilers
OVERALL THOUGHTS: When I first read the blurb, I couldn’t wait to read this, then I saw the darkly intriguing cover and I sped through the ARC I was reading (which was actually good) to rip into it. I was excited…genuinely. And when it became clear that this mediocre book was never going to go anywhere, I became frustrated and insulted that the author didn’t think to follow through with an actual story, her attempt to “break formula.” If books that offer no depth, provide no answers, with pages (virtual or otherwise) filled with characters that are wholly unlikable, then this might be Kismet. But, if you like a solid story with at least one likeable main character and at least ONE answer to the questions posed in the mystery…look for something else.
[note color=”#c5d9f6″]SYNOPSIS: You do not kill a man in cold blood and then talk your way out of it. Other than her real name — Mary-Magdalene Feigenbaum — fifteen-year-old Maggie’s problems seem ordinary. She has tiffs with her too-critical mother, a crush on her cute psychologist, and worries that her only friend — fellow outcast Abigail — is morphing into a popular girl, leaving her behind. But Maggie has a few not-so-ordinary problems. A voice in her head is telling her to kill. And not just anyone. Each time the target is a person who has done something terrible to someone Maggie cares for. You know what you have to do, the voice commands. Maggie struggles to resist, but the voice is relentless. And as its demands escalate, her world begins to crumble. With rising suspense, this story of psychological horror introduces a narrator whose own unique voice and irreverent humor are unforgettable – an unlikely hero fighting a desperate battle against incomprehensible evil.[/note]
THE LOWDOWN: I will start with the good…there were a couple scenes that were nail-biting and edge of your seat; I found the stepfather to be a sweet and compassionate character and the book was short. I finished it in two hours – literally.
Now on to what I didn’t like. Let’s start with the mediocre writing. From the first page, I knew I wasn’t going to like this book. It felt hollow and forced, the writing shallow without any depth. I found the main character’s voice distracting, a complete brat with no backbone. According to the blurb, she is a murderer in a battle “against incomprehensible evil”. WRONG! She kills people who don’t like animals and an alcoholic that beats his kid. Incomprehensible evil? Hardly. Bullies with little remorse – definitely. But she isn’t the only ugly character in the book. Everyone is, save her kind stepfather. It was really hard to connect with such ugliness. But then I think back to Hannibal Lecter or Michael Corleone and I remember that there are plenty of deplorable protagonists that are likable. What makes a nasty mean lead character enjoyable is that they usually go through some sort of metamorphoses, or struggle against their inner bad, they are charismatic, charming and people like them. I didn’t like this girl. Not one bit. In fact I hated her. She lies to everyone, is self-righteous and has this annoying voice in her head that suggests she kill people (like babies) and she does (not the baby) without question. The voice should have suggested suicide. Further, there is zero redemption. In fact, instead of figuring out how to combat the part of her that is bad she just goes with it.
Usually when a book presents a mystery, there is a path toward understanding. This book came up empty. It was hollow, a shell of what could have been a great psychological thriller, but it was neither psychological nor thrilling. I wanted to scream when I finished the final page and realized that this story had absolutely nothing to give me except some disgusting characters, a bunch of death and a lot of wasted time. I don’t usually like to bash books that try to work outside the box, but sometimes a little formula is good, especially when trying to create a connection from the main protagonist to the reader.
So if you have two hours (it is a super quick read) that you don’t need or care about, you could read this, but I think there might be some medical journal out there that could do the time filling trick a little better.
Final words: Skip it.