Book Review: Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards

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Title: Six Months Later
Author: Natalie D. Richards
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

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Six Months LaterSix Months Later
Natalie D. Richards
Sourcebooks Fire, October 2013
ISBN 978-1-4022-8551-6
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

She Has Everything She Ever Wanted. But Not Her Memory…

When Chloe fell asleep in study hall, it was the middle of May. When she wakes up, snow is on the ground and she can’t remember the last six months of her life.

Before, she’d been a mediocre student. Now, she’s on track for valedictorian and being recruited by Ivy League schools. Before, she never had a chance with super jock Blake. Now he’s her boyfriend. Before, she and Maggie were inseparable. Now her best friend won’t speak to her.

What happened to her? Remembering the truth could be more dangerous than she knows…

One of the most important parts independent presses play in the book industry is in giving a voice to many authors and subgenres that the larger publishers fail to take on. In today’s world of extensive self-publishing, I think those small but traditional presses are even more important because so many of the self-publishers jump into the favorite themes of the day and struggle to make their work unique. I’m a huge fan of the currently popular young adult dystopian and post-apocalyptic—and will continue reading as much of it as I can find—but have long felt that there isn’t enough good young adult mystery fiction. I have found some, to be sure, but it’s just not a widely-populated field.

And then along came a chance to review Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards and it *sounded* like the kind of young adult mystery I’ve been looking for. Imagine my delight when I found that this is precisely the right book. Ms. Richards clearly knows how to construct a mystery with puzzles and red herrings galore and she even manages to make the romantic angle a puzzle, too, as the reader is just as confused as Chloe when it comes to the two boys in her life, Blake and Adam.

Character development is a strong element here and, except for the gaps in Chloe’s memory that naturally create holes in what we know about her, I really felt a connection to nearly all the main players (those connections not necessarily being favorable). I even found the requisite romance—it’s difficult to find a young adult novel without at least a hint of hormonal-activity-that-simply-must-be-true-love—to be believable and Chloe’s mother’s demanding attitude is just like some other parents I’ve known. My favorite character, though, is Maggie, a girl who has been betrayed  and is having a hard time forgiving. Maggie is also an integral part of why I like Chloe so much—she values friendship and loyalty to the highest degree.

And then there’s the plot. There are a few little flaws here and there but this is a throat-grabbing thrill ride that just won’t ease up on the questions and the suspense. I can’t say much about it without spoilers so let me just tell you this—my daughter and I were heading home after a road trip and it was getting dark. I had mistakenly packed my ereader light in the suitcase I couldn’t get to so I kept cranking up the font size to get just one more sentence, one more word before total darkness descended. Then, when we got home, I fed the cat, did a fast check of my email and settled down for the night with my Nook. I didn’t stop reading till the very end because I quite simply couldn’t. This book is that good.

 When this author publishes her next YA mystery, I intend to snatch it up as soon as I possibly can. Ms. Richards, you need to write faster 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, October 2013.

About the Author

Natalie D. RichardsDouble RWA Golden Heart Finalist Natalie D. Richards won her first writing competition in the second grade with her short story about Barbara Frances Bizzlefishes (who wouldn’t dare do the dishes). After getting lost in maze of cubicles, Natalie found her way back to storytelling, following the genre of her heart, teen fiction. Natalie lives in Ohio with her amazing husband, their three children, and a giant dust-mop who swears he’s the family dog.

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