Prepub alert: the first word on titles and trends
Booklist Reviews 2017 October #2
This somber debut introduces Milly, née Annie, who's fostered to a psychologist and his family while she waits to testify against her killer mother. Readers know at the outset that Milly's mother has hurt at least one child, but the extent of her crimes and Milly's awareness of them are made clear only slowly, through the teen's flashbacks, night terrors, and testimony. In the meantime, her foster sister and other mean girls offer a second focus for reader animosity, and their eagerness for a comeuppance that may or may not be delivered. Milly's psychological state is precarious at best, making her the kind of unreliable narrator who has fascinated readers of The Girl on the Train and other such novels. Also, give this book to those who enjoyed Malin Persson Giolito's Quicksand (2017); both books skillfully present a gripping tale in the cutting voice of a teen antiheroine, though Land's writing gets clunky in a spot or two when she's hiding information that will be revealed later. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2017 April #1
After letting the police in on a little secret—her mother is a serial killer and a child abuser, too—15-year-old Milly is given a new identity and placed with a posh foster family. Then her foster sister starts bullying her, a teacher apparently discovers her past, and a new friend seems way too enticingly vulnerable, and Milly's intentions to be good—unlike her mother—start to buckle. Lots of buzz for this debut novelist.Copyright 2017 Library Journal.
PW Reviews 2017 July #3
When 15-year-old Annie Thompson, the unflinching narrator of British author Land's chilling debut, tells the Devon police that her mother, Ruth, is a serial killer who preys on young children, the police arrest Ruth. Annie, who changes her name to Milly, moves in with the family of London psychologist Mike Newmont, who will help her prepare to testify at her mother's trial. Saskia, Mike's wife, knows Milly's true identity, but the couple's teenage daughter, Phoebe, believes that Milly is just an ordinary foster kid who's monopolizing her parents' attention. Milly attends the same school as Phoebe, who turns the other students against Milly in an effort to drive her away. Milly does her best to ignore the bullying, but the worse things get, the louder Ruth's hectoring voice rings in Milly's head, forcing Milly and the reader to question whether it's possible to overcome both nature and nurture. A deliberate pace and a skillfully woven plot conspire to create a visceral read that's at once a gripping psychological thriller and a devastating exploration of the damage wrought by childhood trauma.