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Thursday, March 28, 2013

REVIEW: You Know What You Have to Do, by Bonnie Shimko

You Know What You Have To Do
Funny, fiesty, fifteen-year-old Mary Magdalene Feigenbaum (otherwise known as Maggie) suddenly faces more than the usual YA concerns: a voice in her head is telling her to kill people. Not just anyone – each time the target is someone who has done something terrible to a person Maggie cares for.

"You know what you have to do," the voice commands.

Maggie struggles to resist, but the voice is relentless. 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.

This is one of the most difficult psychological thrillers for YAs I've read.

It's a little bit Dexter-ish, I'll admit. The voice in Maggie's head doesn't tell her to kill people, all willy-nilly like. No, it does have a purpose. She only kills those who have hurt others she cares about or who have upset her. She does fight the voice and not kill innocents or people who just really don't know any better. Oh..and apparently, if you threaten the life of the kid who is blackmailing you because he knows of your first kill...well, you get away with everything!

Maggie's voice (her own voice, not the one in her head) is the perfect portrayal of a TV-styled teenager. She can't be reasoned with, even when she learns the truth. She spends the entire book blasting her mom because she thinks she's a slut--even after she learns that that really isn't the case. She complains about her friends constantly--all 2 of them--and then alienates them. (Of course, her "best" friend tells her that sitting in the back row of a movie theater is just "asking" for sex and she should apologize for nearly being raped while on a date. So..that one might be worth alienating.) She's just not a strong character. I tend to want my protagonists to be a bit better than the "average" teenager as portrayed by the media.

It's really an interesting premise, but it could have been done SO much better. There are just too many holes in the story, and not enough development of what is an obvious psychological condition. There's no story line here, just what feels like random scenes from a couple school years.

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Amazon Children's Publishing through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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