- Notes from My Captivity by Kathy Parks
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-06-239400-2 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-06-239402-6 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 9-12
Seventeen-year-old Adrienne has never come to terms with the death of her father, the victim of a drunk driver, and she acts out her grief in hostility and general brattiness toward her stepfather, Dan. An anthropologist whose life work has been publicly discredited, Dan is determined to save his professional reputation by proving the existence of the elusive Osinov family of Russian recluses, around whom legends of everything from cannibalism to spiritual powers cling. Adrienne talks her way into accompanying him on his trip into Siberia, but before they reach their remote destination, their guides are found dead at the campsite and the Osinovs’ feelings about outsiders become clear. Dan and Adrienne flee for their lives but capsize on the river; Dan drowns and Adrienne is plucked out of the water, reviving in the [End Page 441] Osinov cabin. Parks deftly peels back layer after layer of mystery as she gets closer to the bottom of both Adrienne’s grief and the Osinovs’ real story, until reaching an inscrutable core that defies easy explanation and demands that Adrienne—and readers—make a leap of faith. Narrator Adrienne is maddening and convincing as a privileged kid in the wilderness, tempering her terror with increasingly open-minded curiosity and recognizing that her first-world problems have no bearing on the family she comes to regard as both enemy and host. Romance with an Osinov son is realistically handled, and a touch of mystery regarding his cryptic fate leaves readers satisfyingly unbalanced. This intriguing tangle of menace, cultures, familial and romantic love, and the supernatural will draw teen fans across genres.