Saturday, 9 November 2013

In The Blood by Sara Hantz: The Review

In The Blood
by
Sara Hantz

Title: In The Blood
Author: Sara Hantz
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Buy This Book: Amazon 

Jed is sixteen and struggling to deal with the knowledge that his father abused and then killed four young boys. With the press hounding his family and friends and neighbours judging them, Jed is finding it hard to cope. He is struggling to understand or comprehend what his father has done, but more importantly why. The thing he worries about most is that he is like his father, that one day he will turn out exactly like his father. Could it really be in his blood?

I struggled with this one, I have to admit. The subject matter is obviously difficult to read but I think it was more how it was handled that got to me. I couldn't buy into it, or Jed and I ended up skim reading a lot of the end. As always, I will try to give my reasons as to why I didn't enjoy the book so much, but without giving away any major spoilers.

Now at the beginning I enjoyed the book a lot more, it was as it went on that I began to have more and more issues with it. At first I understood Jed and the way he was feeling. We have all seen these stories before, whether on the news or in the paper and all wonder at how a person could do that type of thing. But, do we always think about their families, definitely the victims but do we always contemplate how the perpetrators family are dealing with it. How do you deal with finding out that someone you love and trusted has done such unimaginable things, without you even being aware of it. These are the things that Jed is dealing with, that I could understand and deal with.

The little descriptions of each of his fathers victims was something I thought was especially moving and important in the book. This book got me to think, not only about the guilty parties family but also about the victim. Sometimes, with these types of crimes in real life you get a photo of a young victim and an age and you think it's sad but you never know them as a person. This book really got to me with the little descriptions of the victims and their personalities, it really got you to view them as real people. But I know if I ever see a story like this in the paper, it will get to me even more now. An example:

"Ethan Lopez
Age seven.
Brother to Zoe and Lucia.
Son of Carlos and Isabella.
Shy.
Dark curls.
Obsessed with dinosaurs.
Wants to be a palaeontologist. Scared of spiders
Favourite food: chocolate ice cream. Wants an Xbox for his birthday. Favourite teacher: Mrs. Jackson. Favourite TV show: Spongebob. Best friend: Dominic.
Benjamin Franklin's fourth victim. Dead." -67% on Kindle

I should probably point out at this point that Jed's fathers name is Benjamin Franklin. Yes, you read that right; he's parents obviously thought they were hilarious. I did roll my eyes a little at the name. As a character, his father is absent throughout most of the book, only appearing now and again. The character, other than Jed, that we see the most of is his next door neighbour, and long time crush, Summer. She's unbelievably bubbly and happy and sees the good in everything. But Jed's constant internal struggle of how he is no longer worthy of her, well, it really began to grate on me over time. 

My main issue with the book is Jed's obsession with the idea that was his father did is in his blood. About halfway through the book, after some online research, he suddenly becomes convinced that there is no way to stop it and he is going to turn into a paedophile too. Now this is a guy who we are told was working his way to Stanford, before everything happened with his father. It annoyed me that someone who's supposed to be that smart could be that unbelievably stupid.

At one point he drinks too much and passes out. When he wakes up he begins to question himself and whether he did something to a young boy that he now can't remember. That to me all seemed kind of ludicrous and got to me so much. After that, I kind of looked at Jed as an idiot. Of course being the son of someone who did that you would worry about yourself, but I'm sure you know how you feel as a person, whether or not you are attracted, in any way, to young kids. It just seemed so bizarre to me. The way the tough subject matter was handled seemed quite immature.

This book is also unbelievably repetitive, Jed says the same things over and over and over again. I could see what the author was trying to do and she tried to handle the subject matter seriously, but it fell a bit flat for me. I couldn't take Jed saying over and over again how 'disgusting', 'revolting', 'sick' or 'fucked up' his father is. I get it, I already know that; you don't need to remind me every three sentences. The ending was also very hurried and involved a character doing a complete 180 that came out of nowhere and annoyed me so much. 

I also want to point out that this is a tough book to read. I wouldn't recommend it for younger teens, if I'm being honest. I am glad my local bookshop has separated it's teenage fiction section. Now they have teenage and then young adult, because books like this make me realise the difference. This isn't a book I would give my little cousin to read, whereas The Hunger Games is. 

2/5 Stars

This book raised some good points but handled the subject matter quite badly. It was too repetitive and character development was definitely flawed at times.


*I received a copy of this novel from the author/publisher/publicist via Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review and received no monetary compensation for this review.

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