Unnatural Deeds by Cyn Balog is a bit of an odd duck. The book starts out with someone who has been in a terrible accident, and is narrating the story. It’s a bit hard to follow wherev we are heading until the book starts really unfolding, but it’s worth the confusion.
Victoria Zell is the new girl at an exclusive private school. The other students have been together forever, so she sticks out even more than she usually would. The only person who understands her is her neighbor and boyfriend Andrew. He’s been there for her every day since Victoria’s family moved there. And, they share everything, all their secrets.
Or rather, they shared their secrets. Once Zachary Zimmerman, known as Z, shows up in Victoria’s homeroom class, her world gets turned upside down. Encouraging her to cut class, be more adventurous, make new friends, and eventually try out for the lead in the school play, Z seems to be an interesting influence on her. But is he a good one, or a negative one?
With chapters interspersed with interviews from Victoria and Z’s classmates, teachers, families, and friends, it’s obvious something serious happens at the end. But what exactly is it? And even if you know what it is, how did it happen, and why?
It’s difficult to get much more into the plot and story of Unnatural Deeds in a review, as it will spoil all the sudden, unexpected twists and turns. I had an inkling of what the twist at the very end might be, but I was surprised by how it played out. That was nothing like what I expected. And it’s not like anything I’ve read before. Which was nice. It’s still a YA book, so it’s geared towards HS and early college students, but it’s a good read for adults.
Fans of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels, Gone Girl, The Woman in Cabin 10, etc. will find this an enjoyable read. There is a lot of mental illness in the book, but it’s well handled. It’s a very major theme, but it makes the story realistic, showing the ebbs and flows of depression and low mania. It is a bit stigmatizing near the end, but I think the rest of the story makes it a little more acceptable. It’s a good read.
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (November 1, 2016)