Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller Publication.Date October 1st 2012 Pages: 326 Published By: Sourcebooks Fire Author Natalie Richards Six Months Later on Goodreads My review copy: Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Chloe didn't think about it much when she nodded off in study hall on that sleepy summer day. But when she wakes up, snow is on the ground and she can't remember the last six months of her life. Before, she'd been a mediocre student. Now, she's on track for valedictorian and being recruited by Ivy League schools. Before, she never had a chance with super jock Blake. Now he's her boyfriend. Before, she and Maggie were inseparable. Now her best friend won't speak to her.
What happened to her?
And why can't she remember?
How much harm could one teeny little catnap do?
My memory decides to have some sort of massive file corruption and these are the months I missed? What about my years in braces? Or the summer my dog and grandmother died a month apart? No, I get to miss the six months that turned my life from train wreck into perfection. Lovely.
Riding home with a fake boyfriend sucks under normal circumstances. But now, said boyfriend isn't just fake. He's also hiding something from me. And it's not an early Christmas present.
Six Months Later is a total nail-biter from start to finish!
Chloe falls asleep in Study Hall. Fast forward six months and she wakes up, only to discover that her life has been flipped inside out. She has dirt under her fingernails and no clue what happened to her. Her best friend doesn't speak to her anymore. The hot guy she's been crushing on for ages is now her boyfriend. But, oddly enough, it is the creepy guy with a criminal record and crooked (*coughs* sexy *coughs*) smile that is making her heart beat faster. She's also one of the top students in her class now! How weird is that?! Amnesia caused by SAT-related stress? Is she going crazy or has something terrible happened to her?
There are no paranormal elements at play in this book, though half of the time (OK - 99% of the time!) you feel like there is something sinister and evil going on. And of course, you're right about that! The story is dripping with tension, mystery and intrigue. It's so intense, I had to make a conscious effort not to bite my nails. And Richards' excellent writing style only enhances the experience. The narration flows effortlessly, and the plot line is so unbelievably gripping, it practically swallows you whole. I honestly did not expect to be so completely immersed in this book. I have been hearing amazing things about Six Months Later even before I picked it up, but even all the rave reviews, all the oohs and aaahs, did not prepare me for the crazy rollercoaster ride it turned out to be. This book is a masterpiece!
Chloe is an unreliable narrator; she has no idea what is going on and has to work hard to discover the truth behind her missing memories. Her story is a puzzle, and as you read further into it, you begin to put the pieces together. And boy, do they snap together tightly! You can't help but admire Richard's seamless plotting and how much thought she put into this story. The result is a taut and ingenious thriller.
As far as characters are concerned, I must say I really loved Chloe. She is my kind of heroine, spirited and complex, and with just a sprinkle of sass that makes her very likeable. She's confused, lost, frustrated and understandably frantic about the whole situation, but she doesn't whine about it, she starts digging, determined to uncover the truth. And so what if she's risking her shiny new apple-pie life, she doesn't care! She liked her old life and she wants it back. I loved that about her! She's scared - terrified even! - but she doesn't back down. This girl is a fighter and it took me no time at all to connect with her. Her voice is genuinely awesome, too. Despite all the shady/scary things going on around her, she doesn't freak out, doesn't get overly dramatic, no, she keeps it cool. Her inner dialogue is often quite amusing, especially when she makes biting remarks about things and people around her. That's another thing I absolutely loved about her!
And Adam? *dreamy sigh* Oh, Adam is just simply delicious. Mysterious, edgy, complicated.. A guy with a baggage, lost, troubled and utterly irresistible. To me, he was fascinating and I really liked him from the get-go, just like I liked Chloe and Maggie.
The bottom line here is that you MUST read this book. I believe this is a story that everyone will enjoy, no matter your genre preferences, etc. It's unnerving, compelling and heart-pounding. Above all, though, it's just a really awesome book with a fantastic, well-thought-out plot line and great, memorable characters. I can't wait for Natalie D. Richards' next novel!
About the author:
Natalie D. Richards won her first writing competition in the second grade with her short story about Barbara Frances Bizzlefishes (who wouldn't dare do the dishes.) Now she writes about awesome girls, broody boys, and all things dark and creepy. When she's not writing or shopping her manuscripts, you can probably find her wading through the towers of dog-eared paperbacks that have taken over her bedroom. Natalie lives in Ohio (Go Bucks!) with her techno-wiz husband, three amazing kids, and a seventy pound dust-mop who swears he's the family dog.
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