James's Reviews > Tear Me Apart

Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison
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really liked it
bookshelves: 1-fiction, 9-read-2019-01-january

I've read a few J.T. Ellison books over the last two years. When Tear Me Apart came out, I quickly added it to my TBR and looked forward to getting it scheduled in the queue. After reading lots of light cozy mysteries, I needed a stronger thriller or suspense last week and moved Tear Me Apart up on my list. I enjoyed the book a lot and walked away with tons of mixed emotions, ultimately settling on a solid 4 stars.

Mindy Wright is a 17-year-old competitive skier who is likely about to join the US Olympic Team. An accident on the slopes derails those hopes but also reveals she has leukemia. The rest of the book is an explosion of lies and secrets all culminating in discovering (1) Mindy's real parents, (2) how she became adopted, (3) what happened to several young girls in a psychological institute, and (4) what is the relationship between parents and children versus sisters. Since I don't want to give away too much about the plot, what you need to know is that this book will delve into how far a person will go to protect someone they love or something they desperately want.

The book starts in complete discord and chaos -- in a good way. Different characters lead the first few chapters. We have perspective and POV from a few primary people in the book. We don't know how everyone relates to each other until at least fifty percent into the book. It's a suspenseful tale that draws you in... not immediately, but with each unraveling layer of the onion. It's a bit sweet, sometimes make you cry, but always leaves you with something more to keep discovering. Who's telling the truth? Who's leaving out some info and embellishing other history? It's confusing and all leads to a rather huge explosion.

Let's start with the good. Character, plot and writing are all solid. They are well-depicted and keep you interested. Ellison chooses to only show Mindy's point of view in a handful of not-very-important scenes. The focus is on her biological parents and her adopted parents, as well as other interested parties and one kind aunt. How everyone fits together is intriguing, especially once you discover who's behind the letters Mindy finds in a locked closet in her house.

Let's dance around the odd. One character goes from completely in control to completely out of control. I can support her slow unraveling... history coming back from the dead... the powers of psychosis taking over... but it was way too far. If you're crazy, you'll do some crazy stuff. But I still don't understand why 17 years later you go off the rails in a spectacularly insane finish. If the secret comes out, it does. You could have kept a bunch hidden and just said: "here's who your parents were" and "this is how you came to live with us." Also, we don't have nearly enough clarity on what was wrong with the bio mother to do the things she did. I understand depression can make you do things you wouldn't normally do, or feel things you shouldn't feel, but... the progression wasn't enough for me to completely believe it. For those reasons, I couldn't give this 5 stars.

I thought about dropping it to a 3 or a 3.5, but ultimately, I couldn't put the book down. I found myself in constant attachment and wanting to know how did it happen. Sometimes I poked holes in the explanations only to find those same holes being explored chapters later. It's OBVIOUS the author went into extreme planning mode and truly wrote a complex thriller. It just didn't complete the webbing for me. I respect her talent and think because of my obsession to know what happened, I feel comfortable with 4 stars.

Who else read it? What did you think? I will definitely read more from this author. She's a wonderful storyteller.
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Reading Progress

June 13, 2018 – Shelved
June 13, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
June 13, 2018 – Shelved as: 1-fiction
January 19, 2019 – Started Reading
January 20, 2019 – Shelved as: 9-read-2019-01-january
January 20, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle Wonderful review, James! :)


James Michelle wrote: "Wonderful review, James! :)" Thanks, Michelle. It was difficult trying not to give away too much.


message 3: by Michelle (new) - added it

Michelle James wrote: "Michelle wrote: "Wonderful review, James! :)" Thanks, Michelle. It was difficult trying not to give away too much."

It is so tricky writing reviews for psychological thrillers without accidentally spilling the beans. I'd rather be vague than to ruin anything for another reader.


message 4: by Holly (new) - added it

Holly  B I still need to read this one! Great review Jay!


James Michelle wrote: "James wrote: "Michelle wrote: "Wonderful review, James! :)" Thanks, Michelle. It was difficult trying not to give away too much."

It is so tricky writing reviews for psychological thrillers withou..."
Definite agreement!


James Holly wrote: "I still need to read this one! Great review Jay!" Such a complex plot... the layers will keep you freaking out!


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