Saturday, October 21, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis


Title: This Darkness Mine
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Thriller
Pages: 352
Pub Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books/HarperTeen
Book Source: From the publisher for review
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars


Synopsis: Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her oxford-wearing boyfriend. She’s worked her entire life to ensure that her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved.

But suddenly there’s a fork in the road, in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, her skin misses his touch even though she’s never known it, and she relishes the smell of him—smoke, beer, and trouble—all the things she’s avoided to get where she is. Even worse, every time he’s near Sasha, her heart stops, literally. Why does he know her so well—too well—and she doesn’t know him at all?

Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending another’s: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. But that doesn’t explain the gaps of missing time in her practice schedule or the memories she has of things she certainly never did with Isaac. As Sasha loses her much-cherished control, her life—and heart—become more entangled with Isaac. Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she’s willing to do—and who she’s willing to hurt—to take it back.
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Okay, this was an extremely tough book for me to rate/review. I adore Mindy McGinnis; she is an auto-buy author for me. I love everything she writes. This book was the first one I struggled with. That being said, this review will be quite full of spoilers.

The synopsis of this book explains that Sasha is a by-the-book high school student who loves to play the clarinet. Some would say she is boring or a goodie-two-shoes—she doesn't cuss, she doesn't pass second base with her boyfriend, and she stays on course to a T in school.

Things start to go south when Isaac enters the picture (there is a con here that I need to explain later). Basically, Sasha becomes a naughty girl and can't accept the fact that she is the one being a “bad girl,” so, conveniently, she finds an old ultrasound of her mother's. She sees another fetus in the picture with her, but she has no siblings. She does a little research and learns that she absorbed her twin in the womb. Basically, she stole her nutrients and the other fetus died. Her parents never told her. So, why not blame the dead twin?

This is where it gets weird. And spoilery. **SPOILERS AHEAD!!!**


• First of all, the thing with Isaac and Sasha is that Isaac and her had already been spending time together. They smoked together, drank together, snuck out of the house, etc. So, Sasha had apparently been doing these things for who-knows how long (it wasn't stated) and yet we start out the book with Sasha being confused as to why Isaac has her phone #. How does Isaac justify to himself that Sasha pretends she doesn't even remember anything about giving it to him or spending time with him? He just sort of rolls with it, and I don't think this is very realistic and it makes things weird.

The excuse for this is that Sasha's twin sister is still inside her. She thinks that her heart is Shanna's heart and that it wants Isaac. Sasha even begins to communicate with her sister through texts back and forth. Sasha will text her sister or write to her via Word document on her laptop, go to sleep, and wake up to a message from Shanna in return. So, Sasha is apparently blacking out during half of the book.

• These increasing interactions with Isaac lead Sasha into a lot of angsty and dramatic arguments and actions, ending in her eventually jumping out of a window and nearly killing herself.

Cut to Sasha finding out that she has a heart condition and needs a transplant. WHAT? This is where I began struggling. The book started out good, but all of a sudden we are in a medical setting and Sasha is getting an LVAD and waiting on a transplant in an in-patient care facility. Now, this isn't a big thing for some, but for me it is triggering as hell. I have severe anxiety triggered by anything medically related, ESPECIALLY HEART RELATED. So, all of a sudden, I am freaking out and almost had to put the book down. I get that this is not the author's fault and it is more of a personal issue, but the reason I brought my rating down for this is that the synopsis was sort of misleading. There is NOTHING in there about this issue, and at least 60% of the book takes place in this setting. I just felt blindsided. This heart condition had a purpose, to be fair, but it still put me in a bad headspace.

• IT IS ABOUT TO GET GORY. So, nearing the end of the book now... Sasha is getting a transplant. First, she decides to give her sister a gift. She gets Isaac to come see her and tells him Shanna is going to be with him now.. and then proceeds to CUT OUT HER OWN HEART. Mind you, she cuts into her own chest, through her sternum, and into her actual heart (she doesn't get the entire thing of course), and hands a piece of it to Isaac. I don't have a problem with this scene, per say, but I do have a problem with the fact that Sasha is AWAKE for this. She doesn't pass out from the pain or the fact that she cut out a piece of her heart! She is just cutting away, talking, like it's a damn walk in the park. Unrealistic as HELL. I couldn't take it seriously.

I won't tell you how it ends, as I have spoiled enough. lol

Let's move on to what I LIKED about this book.


• A story of mental illness. It goes without saying that this book is obviously not paranormal in any way. Sasha clearly has a mental illness. It is never diagnosed in the story or anything like that, but it is clear. Perhaps the book is supposed to be something to speculate on, but it is obvious to me that Sasha suffered from something severe in terms of psychosis. I enjoyed this! I think it was extreme in nature and I loved reading from the POV of someone going through something like this. I think the author did very well writing about such an issue in a gripping way.

• Mindy McGinnis is an amazing writer. Her stories are always sort of dark and gritty, and a little off-the-track. I enjoy the odd elements in her books, and this one was no exception. The story, overall, was kind of creepy and definitely thrilling.

• The characters were all very well written. Sasha, Isaac, and Shanna as well. Shanna was a strange presence in the book, but the bits where Sasha was conversing with her were very interesting and the writing was quite poetic and clever. Sasha also made some friends while she was waiting for her transplant, and these characters were great as well.
OVERALL, I liked the book, but I did not love it. I am on the fence with it, and I struggled. I can honestly say I am 50/50 here. I will say this: If you aren't triggered by medical settings, then you will probably enjoy this much much more than I did. There are some small plot issues, but they are minor. Overall, it is great. Dark, enthralling, and creepy. Shocking, sad, and surprising. I do recommend it if you are a fan of a dark thriller with a strange twist. 

1 comment:

Daniela said...

Hi, i was meaning to ask if you could explain to me the Last paragraphs of chapter 40? Thanks

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