Books, Coffee, Mystery, Reviews

[Book Review] Disconnected By Lisa M. Cronkhite & Caffe Appassionato Magnolia Blend

Disconnected By Lisa M. CronkhiteTitle: Disconnected
Series: Standalone
Author: Lisa M. Cronkhite
Publisher: The Poisoned Pencil / Poisoned Pen Press
Publication date: June 3rd 2014
Page Count: 200 pages
Age Rating: Young Adult & Up (language, vague sexual situations, and mentions of suicide)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received an ARC to review
Publisher’s page: Disconnected

Milly doesn’t want much – get to school on time, score good grades so no one will get on her case, have a friend so she doesn’t look like a total loser. Just stay under the radar and get through the day, that’s all Milly wants. But every minute of every day is a battle for Milly, because Amelia is there-hiding her phone, losing her homework, whispering in her ear that she looks like a pig. Sometimes Milly wishes Amelia was dead. But since Amelia shares Milly’s body, that’s a dangerous thought.

Amelia has always been there, but since their parents died in the car crash, she’s been making Milly’s life a living hell. Grandpa George doesn’t help; he’s okay to live with, but he’s so remote, and old. It’s at the point where Milly can’t take it anymore, but she’s sure people would only lock her up if they knew-or at least that’s what Amelia says. Sometimes Milly cuts herself, for the release. Her only other relief is to write in her journal, where she can let her feelings out. The problem is, she doesn’t remember what she’s written when she’s done. She doesn’t remember much about her past. But Amelia knows.

My Review

Milly has always had an extra identity within herself named Amelia. Since the death of Milly’s parents, Amelia has seemingly turned on her, becoming Milly’s greatest adversary. Amelia constantly pours poison words into Milly’s mind; she puts her down, coerces her into self-harm, and taunts her about committing suicide. When circumstances force Milly and Grandpa George, her current guardian, to move in with her estranged Aunt Rachel, Amelia pushes and pulls Milly along to discovering the two adults are hiding something. A fragile Milly re-discovers some of her own history that Amelia has blocked from her memory as well as learns some ultimately very disturbing family secrets.

The main relationship in this book is not between Milly and her secret-keeping family, or her one “friend” (and I use that word loosely), or even her romantic interest – it’s Milly and Amelia. Amelia is both enemy and ally to Milly (mostly enemy). She swings from hiding things from Milly and discouraging her search for answers, to spurring Milly on and urging her to dig for more.

Following a mystery from the perspective of an unreliable narrator is always an interesting path and the story in Disconnected is no different. The clues are there, but the answers always feel just out of reach. Pieces of the puzzle are missing and the given pieces can’t be taken as set in stone, since what the narrator perceives as truth isn’t always so. In the case of this book, the main character suffers from a mental illness that causes her to experience blackouts and hallucinations, both which hinder her search for the truth. The writer handles this skillfully, as even though Milly may be lost, the reader never is and the mystery is well set and fascinating to follow, coming to a conclusion that is both satisfying and not predictable.

If I had one bone to pick with this book, it would be the we’ve-never-actually-been-on-a-date-but-we-talked-one-or-twice-and-now-I-love-you love interest. But I could see they’ve both suffered from devastation in their families and maybe that might cause them to cling to each other a little too much and a little too prematurely.

Overall, Disconnected had a good mystery and a satisfying ending. I would recommend this book to those who like psychological mysteries and unreliable narrators. I enjoyed the author’s writing style and would read other books by her.

In Disconnected, magnolia petals are scattered throughout the narrative like breadcrumbs for Milly to follow on her journey to the truth. Dark, bittersweet, and complex (like Milly’s story), Caffe Appassionato Magnolia Blend is a very dark, bittersweet blend with a complex taste that’s a little fruity, a little floral, and a little chocolaty.

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