I just finished THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR by fellow Flux author, Dawn Klehr, and I can’t stop thinking about it. It put a great twist on the YA mystery genre, and was an all around refreshing page-turner. I read it in a day because I simply couldn’t put it down. Here’s my review below, and/or scroll down for a chance to win your own signed copy!
First off, alternating points-of-view give the reader separate looks at two very unique characters: Riley and Desmond (Dez). Riley is an aspiring actress in high school questioning her sexuality. It’s so rare to come across bi/lesbian characters in YA books, especially when their struggles to define themselves are so authentically painful and engaging. Riley’s situation is just that: she’s totally relatable, and the reader roots for her no matter where they’re coming from.
And then there’s Dez, the other POV the book shares and an aspiring director… talk about a captivating character. He was an incredibly unique protagonist to follow, not only because he occasionally “directs” the scene, narrating as if he’s reading a movie script, but because he’s practically an antagonist for Riley. And yet Dawn Klehr masterfully makes us sympathize with him, even when he’s creepy and controlling, and sometimes downright scary, as he tries to direct Riley’s life: attempting to convince her she’s not into girls and to persuade her to fall in love with him.
I won’t say much more than that about the main characters for fear of spoilers, but another aspect of the book I found totally refreshing is one I’ve already mentioned: there’s full-on screenplay writing throughout the novel. Not only when Dez is directing the scene for us, but sometimes whole flashbacks and current scenes are written as a screenplay. Screenplay writing is a completely different style of writing; not all novelists can write screenplays and vice-versa, but Dawn Klehr really succeeds.
Meanwhile, there’s the frightening mystery of who killed Ms. Dunn, a teacher at Riley’s and Dez’s high school, and it’s completely unpredictable how it turns out. I loved the ending—it came to the only conclusion that it really could while being true to the story, and yet it was a breath of fresh air.
One other refreshing bit: often in YA literature, parents are the bane of teens’ lives. Not always so in real life, nor in THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR. Both characters have positive relationships with their parents, and even step-parents!
So if you want something unique, boundary-pushing and oftentimes scary—or even if you’re just into film and/or awesome movie references in your books—pick up a copy of Dawn Klehr’s THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR. (Try Indiebound, B&N, or Amazon.)
AND, in honor of October being LGBT History Month (not to mention a month in which you should be reading spooky books), Dawn awesomely offered up a signed copy of the book for me to give away! Enter below. The giveaway begins on Monday the 28th and ends Sunday, November 3rd, just before midnight.