I found The Dead of Summer to be a chilling and compelling look into the world of three young teenage misfits. In a series of flashbacks we are told the story by Anita. A loner all her life, Anita and her family moved to London from Leeds after the death of her mother in the 1980’s. She doesn’t fit in at school and the only friend she is able to make is Denis, a slightly slow boy. Through Denis she meets Kyle, who lives across the street from her and whom she has already noticed and been attracted to. Kyle is the leader of the group and the other two always follow him.
We are told at the beginning of the book that there was a event that left everyone but Anita dead. As she relates her story to a psychiatrist many years later, she fills in the blanks and we are shown what actually happened that summer. We learn about each of the children’s background, from Denis’s overprotective, religious mother to Kyle’s younger sisters’ disappearance a year earlier. This is a disturbing, yet riveting story that I found very hard to put down. Definitely not a book for the faint-of-heart.
The Dead of Summer is Camilla Way’s debut novel, yet she has produced a well crafted plot that keeps the reader engrossed. Her skilful manipulation keeps the book fresh and unpredictable. There are times when you find a book that really speaks to you, and for whatever reason, this book spoke volumes.
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