Release Date ~ August 7, 2012
Razorbill Canada ~ Penguin Canada
ARC received from Penguin Canada for blog tour
You wake in the middle of the night, your arms and feet pinned by strong hands. As you thrash your way to consciousness, a calm voice says, “Steady. We’re here to help.” Your mind registers a paramedic, a policeman, an ambulance. You are lying on the lookout at Keeper’s Point, the lookout Amanda Creen supposedly threw herself off. And you have absolutely no idea how you got there.
Aaron Rowe walks in his sleep. He has dreams he can’t explain and memories he can’t recover. Death doesn’t scare him – his new job with a funeral director may even be his salvation. But if he doesn’t discover the truth about his hidden past soon, he may fall asleep one night and never wake up. A potent, intense psychodrama that will keep you gripped to the very last page.
The Dead I Know is one of those books where it's nearly impossible to have an idea of what to expect without having read the book - it's mysterious, and not entirely clear where the story is going at first.
And while it isn't one that instantly made me fall in love, it did have its own charm that won me over in the end. A gritty yet hopeful story mixed with a fresh outlook on issues surrounding death make for a enjoyable read.
- A story with guts:
I loved that Scot Garnder wasn't afraid or hesitant to tackle some heavy issues with The Dead I Know. It took me a little while to really get into the flow of the story, but once I did I found myself questioning some of the same issues which Aaron struggled with regarding death and grief. These aren't easy issues to bring up, and I appreciated that they were handled carefully yet still remained poignant. I loved that this was a story with maturity, rather than just fluff.
- A mystery that isn't overbearing:
I'm such a sucker for any sort of mystery plotline, but I liked that the one in The Dead I Know wasn't a typical whodunnit plot (although I enjoy those, too). In fact, it took me a little while to really figure out what the actual mystery was, and why it was so important to figure out what had happened.
- But there's still something heartwarming:
But what I really loved about this story is that amidst all the ugliness, there's still optimism and hope. For every bad thing that happens, and every bad person, there's something (or someone) good to balance it out. I loved seeing all these kind and generous characters help out in their own little ways - it's something so reminiscent of real life, and it just made my heart glow to read about it.
I also had a hard time relating to Aaron at times, because he felt so cold and distand and extremely mature for his age. It could be hard to pin down his character at times, but I think that was a crucial part of the story and of his development.
I do have to say though that I was so pleased with how unique this book felt; not entirely gritty, but a bit dark in its own way. Just enough to create its own bit of charm and stand on its own two feet as a fairly different type of YA book.
Scot Gardner has written several critically acclaimed novels for young adults. His debut novel, One Dead Seagull, was followed by White Ute Dreaming, a powerful story of first love, mates, and a yellow dog. His third novel, Burning Eddy, was shortlisted for the CBC Award and the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Young Adults. Gravity was also shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award in 2007. The Dead I Know was published by Allen & Unwin in Australia in 2011; it is the first Scot Gardnernovel to be published in Canada.
Also, make sure you drop by Chapter by Chapter tomorrow for the next post on Razorbill Canada presents The Dead I Know blog tour!