Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Interesting. How matter of fact and unapologetic things progressed; then even more interesting, each touch outside teenaged-love triangles-post-apocalyptic-dystopian-what-not that’s come typify loads of YA I’ve read to date is made; but the most fascinating? The growth on her part, the peeking through of her ‘normal,’ of her ‘humanity’ beyond how perfect she was in what she was doing. In other words, Perfect Killer could be more (or less?) too.
Would it better to say DEAR KILLER isn’t ‘YA’? Where the lead just happens to be a younger one in a story that delves (or attempts to delve) deeper into questions of what is and isn’t moral; then crosses over into what’s acceptable, what’s expected and what’s needed; then throws things like PLACES and ROLES with her as daughter, mother as teacher, friend as tools, and people as props and finally monsters as some sort of social necessity. Perhaps it would.
Yet despite all of how creative thins got, the story wasn’t perfect. My enjoyment of things is pulled short by thoughts of “the boy I could love” slipping in (I’m sorry, but that’s so YA!) It’s pulled back even further by the Big Incomprehensibles of how that connection between Alex and her starts at all. (It still makes little sense to me as it’s too convenient and too easy in the occurrence.) Even more mind boggling was how obvious it should have been; the cat-and-mouse, you’re after me except you don’t know it. *nose scrunch* Well, nothing is perfect, even is the story is about a “perfect” killer.
So, if only I could get past those issues… because this was working on a couple of levels for me. First, all things done are justified. As seen through her eyes, these justifications almost made sense. Second, (and this is what’s got me uncertain,) the psychological bit of a girl, split between her as regular girl and her as the one shaped to have this very peculiar view of the world and the people in it. I almost didn’t want the second present! It felt like a reason was being given to explain why she’s not like everyone else. Couldn’t she have just been? Seeing that other half, it felt as if the “unapologetic” straightforwardness the story started on was cut at its knees… because now, we had a basis for how she could deal and maybe even why she was the way she was.
Thank you, Edelweiss!
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