You'll Thank Me for This, Nina, Siegal
Mulholland is one of my favorite publishers, and when I read the blurb for You'll Thank Me for This, I knew I had to request. Forest/survival stories give me nightmares, so I was thrilled to be approved and quickly dove in.
Twelve year old Karin is set to embark on her dropping, a Dutch Scout tradition where children are blindfolded and left in the woods to find their way back to base camp. But when things start to go wrong, Karin finds herself separated from her group--but definitely not alone. At the same time, her mother, Grace, discovers her second husband might be keeping something from her--a secret that could put Karin in the line of danger. I enjoyed this book. First, the premise is incredibly unnerving and the epitome of tension. Unattended minors lost in the woods equates to endless possibilities for danger. The cultural aspect of the tradition is also interesting, as rarely will you find something like this happen in the US. I loved the exploration of Veluwe and could've read an entire book where the focus was on Karin's survival in the dense, dark woods. Karin's character reminded me a lot of Hannah, the fictional girl raised in the woods by her father after he goes rogue from a dangerous corporation. Her mannerisms felt age-appropriate, and I think readers will relate to her predicament. There were a few things that kept me from loving this book. The story was structured well but I had a pretty good handle on where it was going early on. In terms of readability, the prose felt a little stiff at times. Dialogue didn't seem to come naturally and had a layer of formality that didn't match the flow of every day conversation. I understand this could be a translational thing, as some of the Norwegian and Swedish thrillers I read have that same lilt, but in this case, I found the cadence to be distracting and thought the conversations could've been a little more relaxed. I'm also not sure I loved Karin's voice. At times, the diction (excessive likes or creepys or ums) read as an adult trying to write a child rather than an actual twelve year old, but since her maturity rang true, I don't think this will be a major issue for most readers. Overall, You'll Thank Me for This is a taut, balanced suspense with an interesting twist to the lost-in-the-woods story line. I'd recommend for fans of international suspense, anyone interested in family dramas, or layered survival stories. Big thanks to Mulholland and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.