The Detour by S. A. Bodeen

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detourThe Detour by S. A. Bodeen
Feiwel and Friends, 2015

This intense YA chiller is a challenging book to review. What it does, it does very well. It’s just that I found it so crawlingly unpleasant that I would have jumped ship very early on if I wasn’t obliged to finish it for a review.

17 year-old Livvy Flynn is a best-selling author and enjoys the status and financial benefits of her position. Driving through a remote wood in Oregon to a writers’ retreat, she flips her car, is injured, and her rescuer then turns into her worst nightmare. When Livvy comes round she finds herself locked in a basement, and her two kidnappers, Peg and her young daughter, alternating between being callous and cruel prison wardens, and demanding an apology for something Livvy is unaware of.

Bodeen (The Compound, 2008) makes Livvy an unlikable, entitled protagonist who spunkily uses movie references to plan her escape. She develops no empathy for or relationship with her captors, even after the violent denouement, though she has developed some self-determination. Her backstory of being bullied at school feels horribly authentic, and it is entirely credible that, outside her overprotective parents and self-interested agent, her only relationship is an online boyfriend.

Acknowledging its similarity to Stephen King’s Misery (1987), the plot is tightly, often claustrophobically, gripping, though the twists at the end will not surprise a reader who has been paying attention. This taut and fast-moving book will appeal to teens who enjoy suspense and thrills.

Reviewed from an ARC

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