Half in Love with Death by Emily Ross

Half in Love with Death by Emily Ross

Release Date: December 16, 2015
Publisher: Merit Press
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: BookSavvy PR
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
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It's the era of peace and love in the 1960s, but nothing is peaceful in Caroline's life. Since her beautiful older sister disappeared, fifteen-year-old Caroline might as well have disappeared too. She's invisible to her parents, who can't stop blaming each other. The police keep following up on leads even Caroline knows are foolish. The only one who seems to care about her is Tony, her sister's older boyfriend, who soothes Caroline's desperate heart every time he turns his magical blue eyes on her. 

Tony is convinced that the answer to Jess's disappearance is in California, the land of endless summer, among the runaways and flower children. Come with me, Tony says to Caroline, and we'll find her together. Tony is so loving, and all he cares about is bringing Jess home. And so Caroline follows, and closes a door behind her that may never open again.

Inspired by the disturbing case of Charles Schmid, ‘the Pied Piper of Tucson’, Half in Love with Death is a heartfelt thriller that never lets up.

I’d seen Half in Love with Death around the book blogosphere quite a bit and when I got the opportunity to review Emily Ross’s debut, I jumped at the chance. However, when I got the book I didn’t read too closely and thought it was a retelling of “The Pied Piper of Hamelin.” It was only after I finished the book that I realised that it was actually inspired by ‘the Pied Piper of Tucson.’ To those of you, like me, who have never heard of Charles Schmid, I would totally recommend holding off searching him up until you finish reading this book. Emily Ross’s book was thrilling, and after reading up on the inspiration, the story follows quite closely to the real-life events that transpired.

I don’t know how to feel about our protagonist. On one hand, Caroline is quite an interesting voice and has a great role in this novel. On the other hand, though, she can be quite naive at times, and hangs out with the wrong people who treat her badly. I’m definitely leaning to more of the “Caroline is a good main character” thought though because she does have the innocence and flaws of someone at 15. It’s often when I would get mad at characters for not knowing better, but it’s easy to say things compared to actually doing them. The range of characters in this story was really interesting... I just wish that we actually got to learn more about Jess’s character. We only see her at the start of the novel and otherwise we don’t see any major flashbacks or memories of her, other than what happened that night and the accounts of those who knew her. Tony’s character was definitely a wild card, and learning more about him as the book progressed was quite transfixing because there’s a do-I-trust-him-do-I-not vibe that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

The only real problem I had with this book was where the plot would take us sometimes. Instead of focusing on the situation at times, the story would go off a tangent that seemed slightly unnecessary. However, I will say this: sometimes these tangents lead to interesting bits of plot line. After reading the case of Charles Schmid and looking back at the book, I could totally see why parts of those tangents were pretty interesting. Otherwise though, I felt that the book could have progressed much faster if not for some parts of the novel.

The story of a gripping case set in the ‘60s, Half in Love with Death is a book I would call a slow thriller: the kind that slowly builds up and then closes with a hair-raising ending. Absolutely riveting, Emily Ross’s YA debut is one not to miss.

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Emily Adams at BookSavvy PR for sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

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  1. Hmmmm. I've never actually heard of this book before. Sounds like it could be interesting, although I admit it's not my usual piece of pie. I do like that cover though. Glad you enjoyed this.

  2. I'm not usually one for thrillers but there's something about this book which makes me really want to read it (although it also kind of creeps me out). I don't mind slow-paced books but naive characters can really annoy me. I think I'll still give this one a go if I get a copy :) Great review!

    Zareena @ The Slanted Bookshelf


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