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Half in Love with Death Hardcover – December 16, 2015
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"In her stunning debut, Emily Ross sweeps the 1960s and everything that came with it, exploring the turbulent era and domestic abuse." -- YA Interrobang
Finalist for Best YA Novel in the International Thriller Writers Organization's 2016 Thriller Awards
Named a 'Book to Watch For' by BookRiot
"The 60s setting is a great backdrop for this psychological thriller.... The final reveal is chilling. Mesmerizing coming of age psychological thriller where readers wonder what is real and what is a lie." --YA Books Central
"This story will grab teen's attention. Ross succeeds brilliantly in conveying the confusion, passion, trepidation, fearlessness, and terror that every 15-year-old can relate to. Fans of Lois Duncan will appreciate the gentle spine tingles offered here. The power and beauty of the prose make this novel a standout." --School Library Journal
"The plot goes by very fast, and...it's enjoyable...the book is put together well. The mystery of Jess is definitely one compelling story. The villain is definitely disturbing, and his traits are subtle in nature. And the ending. My. It's chilling. Entertaining story/mystery." --YA Books Central
"Half in Love with Death captivated me beyond the last page, leaving me with so many thoughts and praises for this fantastic story.... A haunting novel with elements of mystery and romance. The characters are extremely well-developed, which makes the mystery even more difficult to solve.... Chilling and enthralling." --TeenReads.com
"Half in Love with Death paints a beautifully disturbing picture of a fairly typical 1960s family. The juxtaposition of such a sweet, innocent, naive girl against the potential horrors of what happened to her sister is a theme that has been skillfully threaded throughout the book. Half in Love with Death sneaks up on you.... It pulls you in with its beautiful prose, only to set you up for a thriller so true to life it will make you question how well you truly know your neighbors." --Hypable
"An incredible debut by Emily Ross. The book’s characters were gripping and intense, the ‘60s setting was gorgeously written, and the suspense kept me up late into the night, my heart racing, almost afraid to turn the pages." (YA Interrobang)
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Top Customer Reviews
The perfect choice for narrator, Caroline is the only character with access to everyone—their parents, Jess’s friends, and to Jess herself. And she’s a sweetie. New in town with few friends, she longs for white go-go boots, for the cool fashion of Courrèges and for Tony, Jess’s boyfriend, to hold her hand.
The book is set in Tucson, Arizona the year the Beatles broke open America. A naïf, Caroline’s innocence mirrors America’s circa 1964. Post Vietnam, Watergate, 9/11, Gulf Wars I and II, Black Lives Matter, San Bernadino, Paris and Brussels, it is hard to imagine such a trusting fifteen-year-old today. And that’s part of the allure of HALF IN LOVE WITH DEATH, to visit (or re-visit) that time in our history.
Caroline believes she is partially to blame for her sister’s disappearance and she is disgusted with her parents, who argue and drink but fail to find Jess. So Caroline investigates. She teams up with charismatic Tony, Jess’s boyfriend, and asks questions of him and his friends. The answers she hears are hazy, confusing, even contradictory. Did Jess really go off to California in a red car with a strange boy? When kids said they saw her in the car, was she screaming or laughing? Is she really living in Redondo Beach?
Perhaps because Caroline is “drawn to things that were not what they appeared to be” she willingly suspends disbelief and is drawn deeper and deeper into danger.
Ross grew up in the Sixties and she based her novel on a real serial killer from that era, “The Pied Piper of Tucson.” (Joyce Carol Oates based her story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” on the same serial killer.) In Ross’s post for Dead Darlings, "How the Pied Piper of Tucson Led Me to My Story"[...]she writes that “[a]s an adult…I wondered if the feelings that drew Tucson teens to [the murderer] weren’t all that different from those ‘magical’ feelings of connection that drew me to my friends in the Sixties.”
Thankfully for readers, Ross stepped through that “small dark door” and wrote this haunting, suspenseful tale that won’t let you stop reading until the very last sentence.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My older sister Jess is such a troublemaker. Beatles song. And her boyfriend Tony is a dreamy bad boy.Read more