Like many teenage girls, Dani earns her money by babysitting. Unlike many teens, though, Dani has started having disturbing thoughts. She thinks of saying really mean things to her best friend and mom and she sometimes pictures hurting people. Worst (and most often) of all, she pictures killing Alex, the little boy she babysits for.
When I say this, I don’t mean she thinks of punishing Alex. She imagines taking a knife and stabbing him to death.
She tries to tell people (her mom and best friend, for example) but she can’t express the severity of the thoughts and no one takes her seriously. Finally, she tells the boy’s mom…and then all hell breaks loose.
I know that I have had mean thoughts, but Dani’s are unprovoked. It’s not that she wants to call her mom names or hit her during an argument. They’ll be having a normal conversation and Dani will picture saying hideous things to her mom or hurting her. She sees herself doing it and imagines the grisly aftermath. The pictures in her mind are so vivid that she has to actually doublecheck to make sure that she hasn’t actually done or said what she imagines herself saying.
This is an incredibly interesting book, one that I couldn’t stop reading. The word I keep coming back to, though, is “unsettling.” The only other book I’ve read that has been this creepy is probably We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. In fact, this book is almost like that one, only told from Kevin’s perspective.
(The difference, obviously, is that Kevin actually does the awful things he thinks about; Dani is completely horrified by them.)
This book is not for everyone. It’s completely horrifying in places, and it’s not an easy book to read. But it’s well worth the effort. Highly recommended.