Theo Mackey should have it all. He’s the captain of the diving team, gets good grades, has a lot of friends, and the girl he likes is showing serious interest. But he has darkness in his past that threatens his present and future. His mother died in a fire, a fire he started, and his dad, who never recovered, died soon after. Now Theo lives with his alcoholic grandfather, and he cannot remember that night. He’s also popping Adderall like candy, and seeing his “Uncle” Phil, a psychiatrist with the heavy prescription hand and an enemy of GP (grandpa). He gets assigned a family history project with his crush, who also lost her mother, and a kid he does not like. On top of all that, he’s going into some fugue states, some that endanger his life. He’s hitting a brick wall with his memories and GP. What will he find when he finally breaks it down?
More below on Dive Smack by Demetra Brodsky.
The first thing that jumps out at you is that there are diving moves and vocabulary with definitions at the beginning of each chapter. I actually felt drawn to read them even though I know less than nothing about diving.
The sinisterness is slow to start, as it seems like a regular troubled teen novel at first. Pretty soon it sucks you in to the mystery of it all. Who is in on Theo’s downward spiral? Who can he trust to help him?
The book made me suspect and trust all until its reveal, which is what you want in a mysterious psychological novel. The slow weave was excellent, and while I was unsure at first, trust me, the wait is worth it. Brodsky surprised me and with the amount of books I read, that’s hard to do.
Adults will enjoy this book as much as teens will. I loved it.
Side note – I really like the cover as well. It is haunting and depicts the essence of the story perfectly.
Theo Mackey only remembers one thing for certain about the fire that destroyed his home: he lit the match.
Sure, it was an accident. But the blaze killed his mom and set his dad on a path to self-destruction. Everything else about that fateful night is full of gaping holes in Theo’s mind, for good reason. Maybe it’s better that way. As captain of the Ellis Hollow Diving Team, with straight A’s and solid friends, he’s only one semester away from securing a scholarship, and leaving his past behind.
But when a family history project gets assigned at school, new memories come rushing to the surface, memories that make Theo question what he really knows about his family, the night of the fire, and if he can trust anyone”•including himself.