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Depraved HeartReview - Depraved Heart
by Alysse Aallyn
Midnight Reader, 2010
Review by Amy Ridley
Dec 21st 2010 (Volume 14, Issue 51)

 

Bronte White-Hawke wants to be a writer and she could write a best-seller based on what is going on in her real life. Her foster father Oz is on trial for killing her foster mother Colleen. Colleen’s murder has divided the family and Bronte is living at the family mansion with her sister Shelly and two foster brothers Trevor and Jake. The group of misfits that she calls family are being hounded by the paparazzi and their every move is being dissected.

Trevor has always been Bronte’s protector and she finds herself needing him more than ever during this trial. The siblings go to court every day to support Trevor and Jake’s biological father Oz. Oz took Bronte and Shelly in when their mother died. Their mom had been an old friend of Oz’s and he took the girls in sixteen years ago and raised them as his own. Once the trial begins, family secrets start to come to the surface. The prosecutor starts poking around into the death of Bronte and Shelly’s mother and finds startling similarities with circumstances surrounding Colleen’s death.

Aallyn takes an interesting look at what constitutes a family. These kids have grown up as brothers and sisters but have different parents. As they get older, the lines are blurring between family and the physical attraction they feel towards each other. What is considered crossing the line where foster siblings or step-siblings are concerned? Bronte does not seem particularly concerned with what is considered acceptable by society. She’s not trying to hide her feelings towards her foster brother but she does acknowledge how it may look to outsiders

This book also looks at whether your biological family is more important than the family you make for yourself. Bronte’s aunts want to be a part of her life but she feels a loyalty to the unconventional family that has always been there for her. There is a pull to know more about her mother but is that betraying the man who raised her as his own? Bronte is feeling pulled in every direction. Trevor wants to keep her to himself, Oz wants to keep her close and her aunt wants a chance to get to know her.

This book is a tension-filled psychological thriller. The courtroom drama is gripping and fast-paced, while the family dinners lay the foundation for how they may have found themselves in this situation. The topics the author covers will be uncomfortable for some readers. The sexual nature of the story may turn some readers off but the mystery of who murdered Colleen is a well constructed story. Right when the reader thinks they have a handle on who was at fault, they’re thrown another curveball by the author. Bronte is a likable main character even though her decisions are not what most of us would make. It is easy to see the teen-age girl when she is thinking about her mother even though she is dealing with very grown-up problems.

This book contains graphic sexual situations. This is appropriate for ages 14 and up.

 

© 2010 Amy Ridley

 

 

 

Amy Ridley received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Boston University

 


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