NOTE: I received the eARC from Entangled TEEN in exchange for my honest review. Thanks!
From the moment I saw the gorgeous cover and read the first chapter and summary of this novel, I was hooked. Yes, the story is darker than most. It's psychological and at times depressing, but it's also interesting in a fictional kind of way.
I can't say I enjoyed it - I mean, how could anyone ENJOY a story that has to do with a pedophile serial killer? But I was intrigued by Jed's thoughts and how they seemed to cast him into oblivion the deeper he got into his father's case. I was seriously afraid that he'd get so lost in the tornado of depressing thoughts and feelings that nothing would be able to pull him back into reality.
To be honest, I loved Jed. He was a normal boy, with normal friends and a caring family. He had it all. Until one day he didn't. Until one day his family broke apart because his father turned out to be a monster of the worst kind. I mean - who preys on innocent children? Psychopaths, monsters. And with all the revelations that followed, Jed's life was ruined. Or at least everybody made him believe so.
In Jed's mind, all was lost. There was no future for him - no good college, no good job, no good nothing. If he could crawl in a dark hole all by himself, I'm sure he would've done it. Especially since his Mom totally gave up on life ever since she learned of his dad's betrayal. Except, he had a little sister (Amy) that had to be protected from it all, and also taken care of.
On top of all that, Jed's been influenced by his dad to think that he himself might be headed in the same disastrously monstrous path as his father, and his grandfather and who knows who else.
I'm afraid that if Summer - Jed's long time best friend and crush - hadn't stepped up and poured some realism into him, he might've gone mad. So many times was he pushed to believe he was a monster too, and he held it together. True, he did try to drink himself into oblivion and that didn't exactly end well, but given the circumstances I'm surprised nothing else happened. I'd have been less surprised if he ended killing himself, honestly. The pressure was just too much.
I think however, that the development of the relationship between Jed and Summer could've been done differently. The way it is now, it feels kind of forced. I didn't mind it, it just lacked... something. I can't even pinpoint it.
In conclusion, and I'd like to make this a note to anyone who's undecided whether they want to read In The Blood: This is not a crime investigation novel. It's not even a novel that focuses on the thoughts of a psychopath and the reasons behind his actions. If that's what you're looking for, you have to search somewhere else. This is a novel about coming to terms with a secret that can possibly bring you down and bury you alive. It's about dealing with the mess that someone left in your backyard. If that's what you're looking for, then you're in the right place.
My rating is 4/5 stars