Thursday, April 14, 2016

Defender by Graham McNamee

Tyne "Tiny" Greer is anything but tiny.  She's 6'6" and trying to amp up her basketball game-- hoping it will be her ticket out of the slums of Toronto. Her dad is the maintenance man of their apartment building, called "The Zoo", and she helps out when she can.  During one of these helping situations, she finds a body in the basement wall.  Hidden for many years, she wonders who could have done this?  When her dad seemingly covers it up, Tiny turns to her best friend/boyfriend, Stick.  They decide to find out the truth-- and Tiny is really hoping the truth isn't that her dad is a killer.

Did you ever see the Kevin Bacon movie Stir of Echoes?  If not, you SO should it's one of my favorite creepy thrillers.  If you have, this book was definitely giving me the same vibes, just without the paranormal.  This is the story of a girl finding a body in the basement of her apartment building and knowing that somehow her family is connected to the death.  What would you do if you found out one or more of your family members has done the worst of the worst?  It's such a tough dilemma because bringing the truth out is going to cause hurt to your family, but not doing anything is going to eat away at your conscious.  In Tiny's case, she decides to find out the full truth before making a decision.  Luckily her boyfriend, Stick, is a sleuth in the making and is able to lead her there.

What I loved about this book: The characters and the setting.  This book has such an odd cast that I had fun just trying to picture all these people in my head.  Tyne is a giant of a girl, basketball player, trying to fit into a world that is too small for her (literally).  Stick is the opposite of Tyne.  Called Stick for being so thin, and he doesn't care how odd he and Tyne look together.  I felt all the characters have distinct personalities and backstories and issues.  It's set in an apartment building in Toronto called The Zoo.  I loved the feel of this run-down, almost hopeless place that the Greer family lived.  It was a great setting for a body and a mystery to turn up.

Tiny and Stick were practically perfection.  I loved that the relationship was more than just romantic.  It was a true friendship and a "where you go, I go" sort of love.  Because of Tiny's size, she's gawked at, and really doesn't fit in, but it was nice to know she always had someone who didn't care about all that.  He accepted her 100%, knew that they looked ridiculous together, and truly gave zero fucks about it.

What I didn't love: The premise was awesome-- find a body and wonder if someone in your family could be responsible-- but when all was said and done, I was hoping for more.  I wanted the revelation to be bigger, worse, or something that really made me think.  While this book was full of villains, the big reveal almost wanted to sympathize the villain, only to do a 180 and convince you that he/she really is evil.  It was sort of a wishy-washy feeling that I didn't really love.  Also, why so many nicknames?  It seemed like none of the characters actually went by their given names-- instead there was Squirrel, Tiny, Stick, Mad Dog, etc.  I'm all for a good nickname, but I don't want everyone in one book to have one.

OVERALL: I really enjoyed this quick, entertaining read.  It had unique, thoroughly developed characters, a cool setting, and a creepy mystery.  If not for the oddness of the ending, I would be shouting recommendations for this one.

This Book Contains:
  • Toronto, Canada
  • Tons of pizza
  • Basketball
  • Rehabbing injury
  • Gardening
  • Friendship
  • Ride-or-Die Love
  • Family
  • Little to no swearing or sexual situations
  • Death

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 2.5/4

Date Published: 4/12/2016
How I got this book: Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Random House for allowing me to read and honestly review this book.
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books/Penguin Random House Children's

Character: Tyne Greer
Book: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

  • I think Tyne needs an escape-- and to read about a family that is more messed up than hers is.

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  1. I can totally see the appeal of this book Michelle, I too would be intrigued by finding out who was behind it all. Sorry that this book fell flat for you in places, but thank you for putting this book on my radar! Lovely review! :)

    1. YAY!! I love bringing new books to people's attention :)

  2. I know what you mean, I have read several of these thriller type books that were wonderful until the end. I hate when the big reveal is a disappointment. I think all the nicknames would make the read a bit muddled.

    1. It was weird that everyone had a nickname in this book. I'm sure exactly what the reasoning was there :(

  3. This is a book I have been thinking about reading, I do love thrillers, and I did really enjoy the movie Stir of Echoes. Great review, I feel like you laid the pros and cons out really clearly.

    1. Yeah, there are definitely highs and lows with this book. I do think it's read-worthy though. And YAY for Stir of Echoes! I rarely ever find people who know that movie!!

  4. I hadn't heard of this one before. I just hate when a reveal leaves you wanting more. UGH. Great review!!

  5. I like that it had a mystery but if the reveal fails, it fails for me. On to the next great read!