Title: What We Lost in the Dark
Author: Jacquelyn Mitchard
Genre: YA thriller
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: Review copy from the publisher for Audiobook Jukebox‘s reviewer program
Audiobook reader: Rebecca Gibel
Audiobook length: 8 hours and 12 minutes
First line: Picture yourself in a helicopter, looping slowly down from heaven.
Goodreads blurb: Allie Kim’s fatal allergy to sunlight, XP, still confines her to the night. Now that she’s lost her best friend Juliet to an apparent suicide, the night has never felt darker—even with Rob at her side.
Allie knows why Juliet killed herself: to escape the clutches of Garrett Tabor, whom the trio saw committing an unspeakable crime. Garrett is untouchable; The Tabors founded the world-famous XP clinic that keeps Allie and Rob alive and their small Minnesota town on the map.
Allie can’t rest until Garrett is brought to justice. But her obsession jeopardizes everything she holds dear. Not even Parkour can distract her; nothing reminds her more that Juliet is gone. When Rob introduces Allie to the wildly dangerous sport of nighttime deep diving, Allie assumes he’s only trying to derail her investigation… until they uncover the horror terrible secret Garrett Tabor has hidden under Lake Superior.
I loved Jacquelyn Mitchard’s What We Saw at Night, except for the huge cliff-hanger of an ending. When I saw that the sequel was available to review, I was excited to hear the rest of Allie’s story.
What We Lost in the Dark picks up where the first book leaves off, and thrusts the reader right back into the middle of the thrill-ride. Allie and Rob are still dealing with the reality of living with XP, and are looking for another thrill. Parkour is too connected to Juliet, and so they embark on a new extreme sport: free diving. At night. In Minnesota. In the winter. (Aside: they are NUTS!)
Of course, their deep dives into Lake Superior confirm Allie’s suspicions about Garrett Tabor. Tabor is a truly creepy, evil antagonist, and his character is one of the reasons these books work so well. He is insidious and powerful, and seems to be above the law. Allie’s determination to bring him down drives the plot of the book.
I didn’t love this one as much as I did the first, and I think the main reason is that the quality of the writing wasn’t there. This fact really stood out in the dialogue. I have three teenagers, and a fourth child rapidly approaching that time of life, and listening to the dialogue from Allie made me wonder if the author has ever spent any time observing teenage girls. It simply didn’t ring true. If I had been reading the book in print, then I might not have noticed it as much, but hearing it read in Rebbeca Gibel’s perfect Allie-voice really made the poor dialogue stand out.
The other thing that bothered me is that the ending had a little too much “Deus ex machina” for my taste. There was a plot twist that helped resolve things at the end that seemed too convenient to be believable. There was another major plot twist, too, that I wasn’t crazy about, but I can understand why the author made the choice she did.
While this wasn’t a huge winner for me, I would like to know what happens to Allie after the events of this book, and would definitely listen to a third installment.