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Review: The She by Carol Plum-Ucci

in a sentence or two: Evan Barrett is haunted by the cloudy memories surrounding the death of his parents, and wants some real answers as to what really happened to his mom and dad on their last night at sea. he has faint, yet terrifying, memories of a horrible screeching coming from the sea - from a local legend he once firmly believed in called simply 'the she'...

okay first of all, how cool is the title / cover of this book? regardless of my immense enjoyment of "the body of christopher creed" by the same author, i probably would have snatched this off the shelves of the library based on the sheer creepiness of the cover. that, and the intrigue of a sea-monster...

Evan's parents disappeared when he was young. note, i say disappeared, not died...necessarily. there is a big fat cloud of mystery surrounding their last night at sea, and Evan, his brother Emmett, his aunt Mel, and his grandpa (opa) have all come to their own separate conclusions about what happened that night and why. Evan was never really sure what his theory was, mainly because his memories were suppressed for the most part until Grey slipped him some acid at a party...whoops. Emmett and aunt Mel have much more 'factual' opinions as to what happened, while Evan is increasingly convinced that 'the she' is responsible for what happened to his parents.

now enter Grey - the girl who slipped Evan acid at a party without his knowledge. she too experienced something very similar to what Evan remembers...the screeching that only they could hear that happened right before someone died. that's right, only SOME people can hear the creeptastic screeching from 'the she', and it only happens when someone (typically a romantic couple, because apparently 'the she' gets jealous of lovers-on-the-sea) is about to meet their doom. while Evan lost his parents, Grey lost a person she hardly knew after her boat tipped and sucked the young girl to her death care of 'the she'. that event (as well as some unpleasant family history) bumped Grey into the mental hospital where she's trying to become a better and healthier person as well as discover what the heck is going on with 'the she'. of course, Grey and Evan join forces...though a bit reluctantly and awkwardly at first. he's still not over that whole i-slipped-you-acid thing.

Plum-Ucci weaves a very intriguing story. she uses broken characters to create a mystery/coming of age hybrid that keeps you intrigued while genuinely caring about what happens to the characters. it's a tough line to walk, and at some points in the story, it begins to show. for the most part however, the balance is attained through the discovery of self and discovery of the mystery of the she. the characters discover just as much about themselves as they do anything else in the story.

i was honestly able to feel the haunting presence of 'the she' at times while reading this. the descriptions of the sea, the houses, the boats, and everything else is so vivid and realistic that you feel sucked into the little sea-side town. i cared about the people and i cared about what was discovered about 'the she'. i can't say i was surprised at the ending, especially after having read one of her books before, but i did appreciate the compromise of solution that she came to to explain it all. overall, a pretty darn good read.

fave quote: "I want to jump through the radio to get to my mom's screaming Maydays, and I want to bolt upstairs to get Emmett. I end up backing out slowly, hearing The She until she has almost overpowered my mother's voice, which is screaming. The sound is all through me then, coming from the sky, the beach, the radio." (13)

fix er up: i was a bit irritated at referring to high-fives as 'skinning'...as in, he held his hand up for me to skin it, so i did. sometimes attempting to use teenage vernacular in stories really bugs me. also, like i previously mentioned, at times the story lost a bit of it's balance by focusing too much on the relationship between Evan and Grey - but that was an interesting sub-plot none the less.

title: The She
author: Carol Plum-Ucci
genre: mystery, thriller, coming-of-age

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. so Grey is trying to get her life together and be a better person by slipping strange boys acid at parties? weird. did it even explain how she got the acid? does she use it a lot? did Evan have flashbacks?

    so many questions....although they are all acid related

  2. the 'getting the life together' happens post-acid slipping. it does not talk about how she got the acid, though her family circumstances make it clear (discovered later in the book) that it was possible. it never talks about her using the drugs, only the one instance where she slips them to evan.

    the acid kind of triggers the flashbacks. he was relatively flashback-free and memory-repressed until that night, and then his memories started seeping to the surface.

    so many answers...although they are all acid related. did that help?


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