The story trudges on with plucky Mathilda hacking into Helene's e-mail account and discovering who was waiting for her at the other end of the train line. Things start to get just plain creepy when she begins to send e-mail from Helene's account to the boyfriend — just a blank, but still unsettling. And her behavior is even spookier when she sends another blank to her mother.
No spoilers here. Consult the book for the ending, but don't expect any answers. Despite the breathless promises of the chatty jacket copy, no mystery is solved. Instead, we merely go deeper inside the head of one excruciatingly tortured young girl and don't come out feeling any better for it.
Some readers find this book "fun" and the heroine "plucky." It disturbs me that they don't see how the author has burdened her with unsolvable predicaments. Just one of her issues, such as the alcoholic mother, left unresolved could ruin her adult life forever. Lodato leaves everything lying in pieces. Without serious therapy, this character will never grow up normally, especially with the dark secret she keeps. What's so fun and plucky about that?
Worst of all, Lodato has aimed this book at the wrong target. In a market eager to lap up young adult books at every turn, he writes this one for adults. While this is no Catcher in the Rye, he could have toned down the psychosis a bit and made Mathilda a disaffected teen for the 21st century. Certainly times call out for it. Adults, with their tea parties, oil spills, and climate change, really couldn't care less about Mathilda's concerns.
This one really tries to please but hits wide of the mark. Perhaps Hollywood can do a better job if they remake it and zero in on the teen audience.