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And Then There Were Four Hardcover – June 6, 2017
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"Highly recommended, and an excellent YA thriller for summer reading!" -Jen Robinson's Book Page
From the Back Cover
- "The trap is sprung. The hunt is on. Don't expect to sleep tonight. A stunning thriller told by two unforgettable voices." -Julie Berry, Printz Honor-winning author of The Passion of Dolssa
- "Tense, vivid, lively, and heart-twisting-I could not catch my breath. What a very great pleasure this was to read." -Tamora Pierce, New York Times Bestselling author of The Song of the Lioness
- "A plot that left me breathless -- and strong, memorable characters. Not many writers can do both: Nancy Werlin makes it look effortless. I could not put this book down." -Linda Sue Park, New York Times bestselling author of A Long Walk to Water
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I really liked this group of characters. They're all unique and they mesh well together. We get two POVs in the story and I struggled with both of them. One POV is quite rambling and full! of! exclamation! points! The other is told is second person. The switch between them did make the flow a bit bumpy, but eventually I settled into it.
Plot wise, it was intriguing from the very start. There were a few things I wasn't expecting and it really kept me guessing.
Overall, it was a slightly creepy story that was fast paced and captivating. And yes, I'm being vague about everything on purpose because spoilers.
**Huge thanks to Dial Books for providing the arc free of charge**
Without giving away the plot (the description does a great job on that and trust me, you wouldn't want to miss the twists and turns here) I'd like to give my high regards to the cast of characters presented. This is a book about friendship and sticking together, and I want to thank the author for making good, interesting people the center of the story. Good doesn't mean flawless (they all have flaws); it doesn't mean happy-go-lucky inexperienced teens (there are some traumatic pasts there), and it certainly doesn't mean teens who think and speak like adults (there is definitely some angst and drama present, but not over the top) - it means teens who have higher values and deeper interests than getting a hundred likes on a selfie, or backstabbing someone to get ahead in life/school. So many YA thrillers lately are built on very cunning, scheming teenagers or super-unreliable narrators, that it's very refreshing to read a book about good people. Kind of like movie "Casablanca" (my mom once said that, possibly, so many people like this movie because it is about men of good character - you can't not respect them, whichever side you're on). That's what this book made me think of. Caleb, Saralinda, Kenyon, Evan and Antoine are people you'd like to be friends with, and they support each other all the way.
A note on a slightly unexpected writing style. We get two POVs - Saralinda's (who's sometimes rambling incessantly , but still is funny and pleasure to read) that is written in first person, and Caleb's (deeply traumatized and forced into being scared of himself, yet has plenty of courage and kind heart) that's written in second person. I actually felt like it suited characters perfectly well. Writing Caleb in second person amplified how he tries to never fully be himself and is always aware of his "other personality". It might be slightly strange to get accustomed to this switch, but it goes into smooth sailing fast.
The plot itself is wild and full of unexpected turns, and it keeps you reading... and reading... and reading...then it's over and you're not quite sure how is it you just finished this whole book when there were so many things that needed to be done. I liked the foray into the theme of parents wanting to kill their kids (as always it gets complicated), but there were different reasons and different personalities, so it was interesting to explore. There is also a surprise in the end, which I didn't see coming AT ALL, and I always appreciate that. It's when you think you reached the end, and then book throws something else at you on the very last pages, and you just have this "WHAAAT?" feeling - it makes thrillers much more thrilling :)
"And Then There Were Four" is a quality YA suspense from Nancy Werlin (whom I'll be reading more now) that is definitely worth your time. It does open several cans of worms and makes you think and contemplate, yet it still provides that page-turning enjoyment we all sometimes want.
Check on your parents next time you see them and Happy Reading!
Appeal: I’ve enjoyed Nancy Werlin’s previous thrillers like The Rules of Survival and Double Helix She returns to familiar ideas here … Huntington’s Disease, psychological manipulation, and wealthy kids at boarding schools. The plot starts right away and there are no jumps in time, which is helpful for readers who have difficulty when plots skip around in location or time. Yes, there’s more melodrama here than three seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, but for what it’s worth I thought the narrators were well-voiced.
Possible issues with comprehension: Chapters alternate between two different students, Caleb, who is emotionally troubled and distant, and Saralinda, who is in need of friends. Readers might want to take notes on the five student characters who appear in the story, each character’s troubled family/guardian situation, and develop possible reasons why somebody might want that character to be killed. There’s a psychological element to understanding this story too -- it’s an extreme psychological element that’s introduced slowly towards the beginning of the story and then announces itself more explicitly at the end. I think developing readers will pick up on it quickly once it is established.
Recommended for: Readers who are into murder and mayhem and are willing to be patient with a longer story. Your Law and Order watching teens will find this book appealing, too, and will be guessing about motives and resolutions until the end. If I were to level this one on the Fountas and Pinnell system it definitely reads like a Y (characterizations can be a little slippery), but I believe W/X readers will successfully “stretch” up to this one for its appealing premise.
That said, I’d be selective about giving this to a student younger than grade 7 and probably wouldn’t book talk it earlier than mid-seventh grade.
Most recent customer reviews
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Although Saralinda, Antoine, Evangeline, Kenyon, and Caleb are not initially all friends, they find themselves bonding quickly when they are almost killed...Read more