|TITLE: Slice of Cherry |
AUTHOR: Dia Reeves
BUY IT: Amazon
RATING: 5/5 [in the genre] or 8/10 [all stories I’ve ever read].
FOR: Fantasy-lovers. Serial killer fanatics. People who enjoy Chuck Palahniuk and American Psycho. People who aren’t easily sickened or offended by a little blood and sex. People looking for something fresh and new in the YA genre.
I have a joke for you. What do you get when you mix American Psycho with Alice in Wonderland? If you guessed “this here book,” you’re one smart cookie. Slice of Cherry is sick and twisted in the most delightful of ways. Or less than delightful, if you’re one of the many reviewers who found it morally reprehensible. To that, I say, “Faugh!” And direct you to my good friend Oscar. Reeves offers us the endearingly psychopathic Kit and Fancy Cordelle, sisters who share the best of secrets: murder. Outcasts from society for their father’s reputation, driven by their own dark desires, they choose to use their evil genius to serve the lowly. Sure, it’s a little selfish and they get off on torture, but at least they’re cleaning the streets of some pretty terrible people. Like Bret Easton Ellis in American Psycho, Joyce Carol Oates in Zombie, and Chuck Palahniuk in, well, everything he’s ever written, Deeves asks you to embrace a world of moral ambiguity and see the good in some traditionally nefarious characters.
Kit may be a stabbing torturer and Fancy a megalomaniac control freak with a creepily stalkerish affection for her sister—but they’re also just teen girls with some hardcore abandonment issues. Kit longs desperately for love and puts troubled souls to rest. She’s clever, strong-willed, and charming. Fancy struggles with her hatred of the townspeople who ostracize her family, and with her own dark fear of growing up. Add adorable, broken Gabriel, devilishly snarky Ilan, and the weary but hopeful Madda, and you have a cast of lovable misfits who all have their own dark secrets. Portero itself is so alive as to be almost a character. Some find it confusing; I take it at face value. It’s an odd Texan town with even odder townspeople. Monsters and doors into other worlds are commonplace. Superstition is religion. Gristle and gore are about as shocking as a spilt cup of tea. It’s the perfect backdrop in which to insert our murderous heroines and their Wonderland-ish “Happy Place.” Embrace the ridiculousness, and you’ll love it.
The plot is equally thrilling—so long as you’re not turned off by a little bloodlust. Fancy and Kit embark on an exciting killing spree that turns them from outcasts to heroes, encountering such colorful baddies as a group of schoolyard bullies, a would-be rapist, and a madwoman who waters her little sister like a plant. Fancy wears a little on the reader when her jealousy over her sister’s love interest turns childish and murderous, but it’s a small flaw. A more major criticism is how separate the two halves of the book feel. The beginning is an introduction into the sisters’ lives, and it takes a mite too long to hit the turning point—their encounter with the rapist—that sparks their killing spree. As a result, the spree feels a little rushed. However, the murders are so violently silly that they can’t fail to please. Reeve’s writing is some of the best I’ve seen in YA. Tight, strewn with clever, incisive metaphors, gritty, and darkly comic, the writing alone could have kept me reading even with a plot half as good. Take a chance on this twisted horror. It’s bloody good fun.