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

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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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 mind 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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