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The Boy at the Door – Alex Dahl

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★★★★

My father’s account will match mine. I have a very expensive lawyer. What Cecilia wants, Cecelia gets

Whewwww, I’m still reeling.

This is the kind of book where you think you know where the story is going but then it takes a hard left turn and you’re left spinning.

Ceclia Wilberg has it all – the job, the house, the husband, the children.

She knows just how precarious the mommy pecking order is and while she may not always like what she does but she will do anything, anything to keep her spot in the pack.

Then, one day, fate throws a very, very big wrench in her perfect life.

What kind of parents would not turn up to pick up their child? Some people really should be prevented from reproducing in the first place.

Someone abandoned a little boy, Tobias, after his swimming lessons and it falls upon Cecilia to bring the kid home.

When she goes to his address…she realizes its an abandoned house. Thick dust coats the floor and not a parent is in sight. With much grumbling and resentment, she turns back around to bring the kid (temporarily) home.

Only, her husband immediately grows attached. The more she pushes to hand the kid back to social services, the more he pushes to keep Tobias.

“Listen to me. You’re a bitch. You can be so much more than that, and you know I love you dearly, but sometimes you really are a bitch. Cecilia, this is the right thing to do.”

Then, with even more grumbling and resentment, Cecilia opens her doors to the poor, abandoned child.

And with this kid comes tragedy, and horror, and a creeping sensation that everything Cecilia has worked so hard to achieve – her house of cards – could come tumbling down at any moment.

But, when all hope seems lost, remember…no matter what happens…What Cecilia wants, Cecilia gets.

I loved how Cecilia absolutely owned her “bitchiness.”

She was not afraid to pull rank, go behind others’ backs and rub her lifestyle in their faces – such a refreshingly and wonderfully awful character. And yet, her tenderness when it came to Tobias really brought out her humanity.

However, there were a few times in this novel where the logic seemed to stretch a bit for me (notably her “confession” to Tobias or her decisions regarding his first night at her house).

And, the ending did fall a bit flat for me. It was all set up to go one way but then twisted. While I would’ve preferred the ending without the twist – I though the way this novel ended was still interesting.

Overall, this debut was stunning. Dahl did a fantastic job of drawing in the reader and balancing tension.

When I hit the last hundred pages, I honestly couldn’t put this down. Bedtimes be damned, I needed to find out that ending!

I can’t wait to see what Dahl writes next!

With thanks to Berkley Publishing and the author for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

All quotes are from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change upon publication

Interested in this one from Alex Dahl? Pick up your copy from:  Amazon or Barnes and Noble

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