Like many of the readers that have turned the pages of this book, I selected Deliver Her: A Novel because it was one of this month’s (April’s) options for Amazon Prime subscribers via Kindle First. Listed under suspense, the title’s description hinted at an edge-of-your-seat, fast-paced story. While the tragic tale of Alex Carmody, her dysfunctional family, and the hired transport were entertaining, it did not live up to my expectations when it comes to a novel of this genre.
After the horrific death of her best friend, Alex Carmody spirals out of control and she becomes the typical angst filled, rebellious teenager. In a last-ditch effort to save Alex from herself, her mother decides to hire Carl Alden, owner of Begin Again Transport, to take her to The Birches, a boarding school for troubled youth. En route, as stated in the description, Alex goes missing and things begin to spiral out of control.
The plot of the story is fairly simple and does bear realistic elements, even if a few of them, such as Alex’s behavior, are a bit too cliche. While the story is centered around Alex’s transport to The Birches, it seems as if her mother plays the most dominant role in the book. It is easier to feel “in touch” with Meg’s thoughts, feelings, and realizations than it is Carl’s or Alex’s. Many times, I felt that Meg was closer to the brink of losing control than Alex was, perhaps due to the way in which her entire life was deteriorating around her. In her portrayal of a dysfunctional family and a marriage in shambles, Donovan succeeded in creating a feeling of empathy for the Carmodys.
On the other hand, the story progressed fairly slowly, and at times the style was inconsistent. There were many occasions in which I felt the word choice was too verbose, only to become more simple a few pages later. This, coupled with the frequent change in point of view, interrupted the story’s flow while simultaneously blurring the line as to which of the three main characters served as the protagonist.
The minor characters seemed, more often than not, to be a convenient scapegoat, used to justify certain actions and outcomes. Evan is introduced to the reader as your typical drug-abusing kid, and despite Alex’s feelings for him, plays a very minor role in the book. It’s mentioned that Alex is his mule, however that subject isn’t really touched upon beyond simple acknowledgment. Jacob, Alex’s father, sits backseat for the majority of the story, only to become a major player toward the end, bringing to light his own shortcomings – and the truth behind some of the accusations that Alex has suffered. Shana appears to exist solely to substantiate the tragedy that started Alex’s decline, while her brother is mentioned only in memories, despite the crucial role he’s played in the Carmody family history.
Despite its shortcomings, and the fact that I do not feel it should be categorized as suspense, Deliver Her: A Novel was a fun read. I do not regret the time that I spent turning its pages, and should Donovan decide to turn this into a Transport series, I would probably read further installments.
This book was acquired free of charge via Amazon Prime Kindle First. My review is an accurate expression of my own opinion, without bias.