Goodreads): Ever since she could remember, Elle has had to hop from town to town to keep up with her dad's demanding career as a corporate insurance agent. Each time, a reoccurring nightmare followed her wherever she went—until the day that the frightening figures haunting her at night became all too real. When news of a serial killer spreads throughout her new school, Elle worries that the Reaper has been leaving her his calling card in the form of cigarette butts on her doormat and an unusual ribbon in her locker. With the help of Brian, a boy she meets at a flea market, she discovers that this isn't her first encounter with the murderer and that her father has been concealing her true identity for the past twelve years. But despite her father's desperate attempts to protect her, Elle still comes face to face with the darkness she has been running from her whole life. Trapped in the woods and with help hundreds of miles away, will Elle be able to confront the Reaper and reclaim the life she lost?
My take: Deceived is a taut thriller—one of those books that would make a fabulous suspense movie. It's also a romance, and the romance aspect is definitely dominant for the first two-thirds of the book, with the pace moving fairly slowly. But once the action takes off, hold onto your hat! The story careens at breakneck speed toward the (very satisfying) conclusion.
I did peg the Reaper pretty quickly, and I thought that Elle should have discovered that she was his target much sooner than she did. But overall, the suspense level is just right, and I would love to see this book as a film.
Deceived is not a Christian novel, yet there is one scene that points to God in a way that I found to be truly lovely. It's Thanksgiving, and Elle's father prays a prayer of thanksgiving to God that is so sincere and humble ... it struck me as a more honest reflection of faith than much of what I read in Christian novels.
I greatly enjoyed Deceived (with the caveats mentioned below), and I will certainly be keeping an eye out for Lindsey's other novels.
Content note: For a number of reasons, I would not recommend this book to anyone under 18. While there is mild swearing throughout, the f-word also makes an appearance in a scene near the end of the book. Its inclusion is understandable given the situation, but I still found it jarring and unnecessary. Also, the violence depicted is incredibly graphic as the story reaches its climax—to the point where I started skimming to avoid planting any more pictures in my head. There is lots of passionate kissing, but no sex; however, I'm pretty sure the only thing that kept the two leads from sleeping together is the fact that Elle is under 18.
My rating: 3-1/2 stars
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Julie is a self-proclaimed word nerd who would rather read than almost anything else. She started writing to make people smile. Someday she plans to change the world. Most days you'll find her online, amped up on caffeine and wielding a book.
Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW), Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), Sisters in Crime (SinC) and the Canton Writer’s Guild.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook free from the publisher via YA Bound Book Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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