Call Me Evie by J.P. Pomare
G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: March 5, 2019
My Rating: 🍪🍪🍪🍪
What a page turner. This book flip flops back and forth between past and present, or rather ominously, ‘Before’ and ‘After.’ During the earlier segments, Kate is living her life as a relatively normal high school student, dealing with catty friendships and her first real relationship. She lives alone with her overly protective (too the point of it being unacceptable) father since her mother died when she was very young. (I definitely enjoyed these parts of the story more than those set in the present). The ‘After’ segments chronicle Kate’s life as she is trapped in a cabin with a man named Jim who forces her to go by Evie and pretend he is her uncle. He explains to her that they can’t go home because the police are waiting to arrest her there.
Over the course of the book, the reader gets insight into what happened back at Kate’s home, but is left largely in the dark. We learn that there was a scandal surrounding Kate’s boyfriend Thom, who leaked their sex tape, and there was also some sort of inappropriate relationship between Kate and her friend Willow’s father. We get to see the slow and very natural seeming progression of Kate and Thom’s relationship as well as the fallout between Kate and Willow, spurred by jealousy between the new threesome. The depiction of teenage life and discontent was very well played out throughout this narrative.
In the ‘After’ sections of the story, it slowly becomes clear that Thom has been killed, and Kate is convinced that it was Jim’s doing, although her memory of the night is impaired and confused. She finds notes she left for herself in a book in her room with warnings not to trust Jim, but she cannot seem to trust herself either. (Side note, what was up with that book? I was waiting for an explanation of when she wrote those notes and what they referred to but just… never got it…). Jim asks her repeatedly to explain to him what she remembers about the night of the ‘incident’, but it is hard to tell if he is intentionally manipulating her memories as she suspects.
During Kate’s time trapped in the cabin, she makes a few friends around town who she desperately tries to convince that Jim is trapping her. With her word against him however, he is always able to frame things to make her look unstable. I was constantly flip flopping back and forth with wondering who should be believed.
The last third or so of this book had me completely sucked in. I had no idea who to trust, and couldn’t predict how the story would end. The final plot twists were very well integrated, and unexpected. Overall, it was a very original plot, and a thoroughly enjoyable thriller. There were a few pieces that felt unfinished, like the relationship between Kate and Willow’s dad (It seemed like suddenly everyone knew about their interactions, but there was no real explanation as to how), but for the most part this was a great read! (Also great– this batch of Death By Chocolate Chip Cookies with mini mint Dove bars folded inside!)