Tuesday, March 13, 2018

If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin

Good morning, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Alison Gaylin's latest, If I Die Tonight.

In the middle of the night, a woman bursts into the Havenkill police department screaming about an accident. It seems a boy in a black hoodie carjacked her. When another boy came to her rescue, he was run over in the escape, ending up in the hospital in critical condition. 

Jackie's is just one of the houses included in the police department's neighborhood canvas area. It's a terrible accident and Jackie feels for the boy's family, but as more information comes out about the accident, one of Jackie's own sons is implicated. And sure, the boy has grown surly and distant, but that's normal for teens. Right? Certain she knows her son better than anyone else, Jackie is the last to believe the rumors. But doubt begins to creep in and she has to wonder just how well she knows this boy - man - who is her son. 

This is a frightening read in that it examines this sort of court of public opinion that is social media today. Liam, who is the victim in the accident, is increasingly painted as the golden boy, the hero. And Jackie's son, Wade, already an outcast when the story begins, grows into a sort of mythic villain thanks to public outcry and gossip.

The case gains even more traction due to the the involvement of a one time pop star, Aimee En. It's Aimee's flashy car that's stolen. And it's Aimee and her followers that help give the story even more visibility than it may get otherwise.

The story alternates between narrators, none of whom has access to the whole story themselves, which means the reader has to rely on piecing each bit together to try and come to their own conclusions as the story progresses. Of course the biggest questions are: Is Wade really the villain? If he isn't, what is he hiding? And if Wade is innocent, then who is actually responsible.

Jackie is the character you most want to sympathize with. She's a working, single mom raising two teenage boys. And she tries to balance between being attentive and watchful and still giving them space to grow. Which I think is something every parent has always struggled with. Except now, the added wrinkle of social media and the internet makes it even harder.

The scariest thing about this book is that it was, in fact, inspired by an actual event and Gaylin's own attempt to, as she says in the extras, make sense of it. And while I don't think anyone can ever make sense of a situation like this, I do think she's done a great job weaving a story that humanizes each of the players involved, giving the reader a chance to see the whole of the accused, the victim, and the people most affected by the maelstrom of dangerous conclusions that comes out of a tragic accident when no one knows the whole story.

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more information on Alison Gaylin and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Dianna said...

I'd love to read this one!

Kay said...

I've read at least one other really good review of this book. Social media - who would have ever thought of all the good things and bad things that have come from it? I'm just glad I don't have a teenager right now. LOL

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

This book sounds SO GOOD - and the fact that it is based on reality makes it every more appealing.

Thanks for being a part of the tour!