WHAT.JUST.HAPPENED: Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristin Terrill

Posted June 5, 2017 by Nick/ 43 Comments

WHAT.JUST.HAPPENED: Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristin TerrillHere Lies Daniel Tate
by Cristin Terrill
Release Date: June 6th 2017
Published by Simon & Schuster
Genres: Contemporary, Suspense, YA
Format: ARC, Hardcover
Pages: 400
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four-stars
Source: ARC received for review purposes

A young, street-savvy runaway looking for a place to call home realized he might have conned his way into the wrong family in this fast-paced and thrilling novel from award-winning author Cristin Terrill.

When ten-year-old Daniel Tate went missing from one of California's most elite communities, he left no trace. He simply vanished.

Six years later, when he resurfaces on a snowy street in Vancouver, he's no longer the same boy. His sandy hair is darker, the freckles are gone, and he's initially too traumatized to speak, but he's alive. His overjoyed family brings him home to a world of luxury and comfort he can barely remember. In time, they assure him, he'll recover his memories; all that matters now is they're together again.

It's perfect. A miracle. Except for one thing.

He isn't Daniel Tate.

He's a petty con artist who accidentally stumbled into the scam of a lifetime, and he soon learns he's not the only one in the Tate household with something to hide. The family has as many secrets as they have millions in the bank, and one of them might be ready to kill to keep the worst one buried.

ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


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Woah! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when going into Here Lies Daniel Tate. I only knew that I was excited to read a new book by Cristin Terrill. This was unlike anything that I have ever read before in YA, and my mindย is still reeling from that ending.

Here Lies Daniel Tate is a difficult book to review, because I feel like one little word could spoil the book for readers. The basic gist of the story, 10 year old Daniel Tate goes missing from a wealthy California community. 6 years later, a boy resurfaces in Vancouver and he claims that he is Daniel Tate. But in reality, he’s a con artist who finds himself a home with Daniel Tate’s family. This whole book was trippy because Daniel is an unreliable narrator. You’re never quite sure if you can trust him. As he navigates his new life as Daniel, it becomes almost effortless to forge a kinship to him. All he wants is a happy life and a family to love, after all. Despite not being able to trust the guy, I found myself thoroughly engrossed in his narration. The ease with which he lies and manipulates should have made me dislike his character, but no, I was captivated. I thought Cristin Terrill nailed it with his voice. She captured his personality and his complexity very well. There’s no denying she’s an incredibly talented author.

Readers will also find a compelling secondary cast in Daniel Tate’s family. This family sure was one complicated mess, but they had their moments. What was fascinating about this book is that you know they are all hiding some dark secret from the beginning, but they act as a normal family, and shower Danny with love. Obviously, it made me suspicious of all of them, but I also liked the way the characters were portrayed. They all had different relationships with Danny, stemming from protectiveness, to doubt to love (from the cutest character, Mia!), and it was interesting to see how those relationships developed over the course of Here Lies Daniel Tate. Danny also has a romantic interest in a new girl at school, Ren. We don’t spend a lot of time with her, so I was never quite attached to her as I was to the other characters. I did kind of wish the romance had been a stronger element of the story, but this really isn’t the kind of story you can have a deep, passionate kind of romance either.

I have to say, I guessed what was going on quite early on – I didn’t know the why, but I did guess the who. However, the book still managed to surprise me at every turn. It’s slow to develop, but it all catches up on you, and you’ll find it impossible to put it down. Also, fun fact, the book has no chapters. It’s just one continuous story, and that was a clever way to tell the story. I have found that with many YA thrillers, the mystery elements are usually quite weak in their execution. Cristin Terrill, however, nailed writing a mystery that had me on the edge of my seat, and then screaming out in surprise at the end.

If there were more YA mystery/thriller/suspense stories like Here Lies Daniel Tate, I’d be reading those books all the time. This is a book that you MUST read if you’re looking for a story that is engaging, has strong characters and best of all, a standalone.

What are some of your favorite YA thrillers?
Let me know in the comments below!

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  • kindlemom1

    This reminds me of that TV series Family last year or the year before, did you ever watch it? Anyways it was cancelled but I really liked it and the plot was a lot like this. I bet I would love this Nick! Wonderful review for this. I need to pick this one up!

    • Yes that is totally what this reminds me of!

    • YES! That’s exactly what it reminded me of too. I think you should try it! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • I love Cristin Terrill, and can’t wait to read this. I love that the ending left you reeling! It just makes me want it even more.

    • I hope you end up loving it, Trish!

  • I have never read Cristin Terrill before but this sounds awesome!! I love that you figured it out but you still enjoyed it. Great review!!

    • She only has one other book out. It’s a time travel one, but it’s a good one too!

  • Con artists are typically unreliable narrators anyway. So I think that’s to be expected. I’d love to unravel its mysteries, so looking forward to picking up a copy!

    Brill review, Nick!

  • I love unreliable narrators Nick and the setup has me wanting to try this. I haven’t read anything by this author.

    • This is right up your alley!

  • Those are a lot of eyes

  • I had seen the cover for this book but never bothered to read what it was about. Big mistake. I read the synopsis and facepalmed myself for not getting this book. It totally sounds like something I’d enjoy. And I love unreliable narrators! They make the story so interesting because you have no clue what to believe. I actually hadn’t heard of this author before so I’ll be checking her out. Great review!
    Genesis @ Latte Nights Reviews

    • I think you’d enjoy this too. She only has one other book out and it was great too!

  • This sounds like a head trip. I love a book with lots of twists and turns and unreliable narrators are always fun to take on.

    • They are. They make things more interesting!

  • Hmm, this sounds like an interesting read. So the guy is not Daniel Tate? I’m going to put this on my wish list so that I can find out for myself. Thanks for the rec, Nick. You do know how to persuade me to spend money on books. Haha.

    • Maybe? ๐Ÿ˜› I’m not telling you!
      Haha I try!

      • You’re no fun. =P Haha.

  • Eeeek I’m so excited for this one!! I loved her first book so much.

    • I can’t wait to see what you think of this one!

  • I’m so glad that you liked this one!! I keep hearing awesome things about it and your review has made me want to read it even more.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

    • I hope you like it, Krystianna.

  • Bookworm Brandee

    I’ll have to check out this one, and the author’s other work. I do like unreliable narrators…they make for very interesting reading. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Glad you enjoyed this, Nick!

    • They do. They always make books more interesting.

  • This reminds me of a TV show that I really liked but got cancelled. โ˜น๏ธ So I bet I’d like this.

    • omg yes!! It is kinda like that!

  • I’m reading this one soon! ๐Ÿ˜€ Glad to see positive reviews for it coming in.

    • I haven’t seen a lot of reviews, but yes, trust me! It’s good.

  • sarabara081 @ Forever 17 Books

    I’ve been dying to read this one! I’m so glad it is finally out in the world and I can grab it this week. I can’t wait for this ending that left you reeling! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Eep! I hope you enjoy it, Sara!

  • I’m planning to read this so glad you enjoyed it – I will have to watch out for spoilers!

    • I hope you enjoy it, Jen!

  • Greg Hill

    I like the idea of no chapters, that’s different, and now I’m really curious what happens with this family. I have a feeling something is not right with this family lol…

    • You can say that lol!

  • I have this book on my to be read list, and your review made me want to read it even more!

    • I hope you love it!

  • This sounds like one of those weirdly good reads you’re kind of hesitant about and then get sucked in within a couple of pages. I’d hate the no chapter thing, though. I mean, I wouldn’t be able to put it down as I hate not finishing at the end of a chapter. It sounds like it would be worth it with a narrator you feel like you shouldn’t like but do and the whole family sounds pretty interesting. I may have to check this one out.

    • I’m the same. I had to force myself to stop reading and it hurt lol.

  • I’m going to pick this one up from the library today! I’m hoping that I won’t be able to guess it.

    • I hope you enjoy it!

  • I’m glad to hear that. What do you mean? It was first person, POV, and pretty simple.