Suspected of her brother’s murder, seventeen-year-old Robin Calloway uses her unique senses to track down the killer and unravel a lifetime of lies.
Following her brother’s grisly death, Robin is held in a mental institution for observation and forced to reveal a bizarre secret about herself: she hears voices, the voices of animals. Cursed with the ability to hear, see, and smell a world hidden to most humans, she learned long ago to cope by “sleepwalking”–or blanking out–for most of her day. So when she wakes up in the “crazy crib” with only hazy recollections of the crime, it comes as no surprise.
Desperate to clear her name, Robin escapes the institution, flees into the Texas Hill Country, and travels home to Calloway Ranch to jog her memory. By using her gift with a special herd of whitetail does, she learns who murdered her brother. But the information puts both her and the deer in the path of a hunter who’s desperate to hide the truth. Contains teen peril and some expletives. Ages 15 and up.
I loved this 27 chapter book. It was told through Robin’s first person point-of-view. What is someone’s biggest fear? Imagine waking up, not knowing where you are. Imagine realizing you’ve been admitted to the Killish County Mental Hospital. Not only that, but your brother has been murdered. That’s what happened to Robin. Throughout the story, the mystery she tries to solve is what had happened to her last night.
My favorite lines: 1) When he sat, his weight made a valley in the couch, rolling me towards him. 2) Underneath the fear and suffering, there was something else, something I’d seen in my own eyes–the look of disgust that comes from knowing someone less than you has turned your life to absolute shit. 3) I don’t believe in killing, but I’m not above kicking someone’s butt. 4) I’d always believed that respect–from all living creatures–was something you had to earn, not steal away at gunpoint. ‘Course I didn’t need any respect at the moment, just answers. 5) Their egos are too fragile to entertain opposing ideas.
The creepiness kept me on my toes. After awhile, readers get the real deal of how wicked her brother and father were. Sometimes people have a habit of idealizing a loved one’s reputation once they’re gone–not with Martin. I loved all the suspense. When Robin and a deer family were stalked (and hunted) in the woods, it gave me chills. Particularly because of the culprit. This happened after she found a video tape. Talk about a dysfunctional family. It helped that Robin was a self-proclaimed redneck. The character’s voice never trailed off course from that tone, adding to the realism.
Monica Shaughnessy had a brilliant talent with scenes (point-of-view, characterization, description, plot, etc). The images she discussed helped me get lost in the story. It felt like I took the crazy journey with Robin. I enjoyed seeing her make friends at the mental institution–Levi (worked there), Patty (another patient), and Dr. G. When he diagnosed her with schizophrenia, I thought that may be true. But then the truth came out. I’m not an animal lover, but I managed to care for the deer in the story. The animals as well as the people were three-dimensional.
It was a fast read. Loving the mystery (questions kept being raised), I couldn’t put the book down. The twists at the end were very satisfying. The truth behind Martin’s murder was very clever.
I RECOMMEND this book to read.
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