Family, Fantasy (Teen), Mystery/Thriller, Science Fiction

The Secret Life of Souls by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee

This is an advanced copy given to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

When I first heard about this novel, I really didn’t know what to make of it. I really don’t like reading or watching anything that involves animals. I’m sure I’m going to get a lot of grief on being a terrible person who hates animals because I said that. It isn’t that I don’t like animals… it’s just that I’m not as interested in them and so would prefer not to read anything that involves them. The premise of this novel, however, kept catching my eye, so I decided to push past my feelings on animal stories and give it a go.

Delia Cross is a talented 11 year old, whose acting career has made her a true star. Her days are filled with auditions, commercial shoots, and private tutors. And it is important that she maintains her skills because her family depends on her for their upscale lifestyle. Her father, Bart, has no ambition and only likes to spend money. Her mother, Pat, is the driven and ambitious one, who pops pills like candy. And her twin brother Robbie is an introvert who lives in her shadow. Delia’s only true friend is her dog Caity, who loves her unconditionally. Finally, the day arrives when Delia’s talents are recognized and she is on the verge of signing a contract to make her first real acting debut. But just as everything is set to be finalized, a freak accident puts Delia in danger, with only Caity to protect her. As life changes dramatically for Delia, the strength of family is tested and the bond between a dog and her girl becomes unbreakable.

This book is more than just a heartwarming narrative about a dog and a girl. It is a chilling narrative on how fame and fortune can change family dynamics and lead to disintegration in a minute. I had thought this would be an endearing novel about triumph after tragedy; I had not expected it to be as thrilling and suspenseful as it was. This novel takes multiple genres and weaves them together in a way that is both beautiful and haunting. I don’t think I have ever read a novel like this one, and I don’t think I ever will. I’m still in awe as to how the authors were able to make this novel so deep and target so many different emotional and psychological feelings in such a perfect way. If you are looking for a unique novel, one unlike anything you have ever read, then please do yourself a favor and go read this one!

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