Rating: Significant Shortcomings
Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Carrie Ryan
Publisher: Dutton Books
Frances Mace is on a family vacation when the cruise ship sinks. She is found several days later and learns that the only other survivors are lying about what happened out at sea. Frances decides that the best thing to do is wait, get more information, and plot her revenge against those responsible. So that is what she does, hoping that her low-profile life at a foreign boarding school and novelty as a survivor is enough to keep her safe while she orchestrates her plans. Many years later, she questions if she is really willing to put her revenge into action and ruin the lives of those responsible by sacrificing her own.
Carrie Ryan weaves the classic themes of revenge, blackmail, and love into a modern-day, young adult novel, but waters them down significantly. While the characters are all fairly flat, Ryan is mirroring the fact that young adults themselves can be rather single-minded until distracted by the chance of love. The main character states that she has been plotting for years and is full of hate, yet is easily distracted by a boy, and then continually recommits herself to her plans, making the entire book somewhat repetitious. The plot progresses extremely quickly, at times being unrealistic for what the characters should be able to accomplish. In order to build the feeling of suspense and mystery, Ryan chooses to write the story across two story lines, the past and present, allowing the reader to follow along with the current revenge, as well as get the backstory in small pieces so everything is not given away at once.