The first Elisa Dane book I read was Abandoned, which is about two teens, Tierra and Mattie, who reconnect after three years apart. When the book opens up Tierra is barely holding things together. Her drunk of a mom brings home loser boyfriends and Tierra doesn’t always make the best choices about alcohol herself. When she realizes her childhood sweetheart has moved back to town, Tierra goes into a tailspin. Then–and I’m not giving away any spoilers, I promise!–at the 38% point in the book there is a major reveal that I did not see coming. It’s such a big reveal that I had to backtrack and read a few pages prior to the reveal because I was so shocked. But the reveal makes total sense, and shapes what happens next.
Abandoned has well developed characters with backstories that build up the plot. I’d definitely call it a guilty pleasure though, because Tierra, Mattie, and their friends are so good looking that watching their love lives unfold is delicious. This book kept me up until midnight because I could not put it down.
The second book I read by Elisa Dane was In the After. Sadie suffers from PTSD but doesn’t want anyone to know about it, especially her friends in the popular crowd who rule the school with cruelty and fear. When she becomes friends with Hayden, a boy from the wrong side of the tracks, Hayden causes Sadie to take a hard look at her own part in the horrible school culture.
In the After hooked me from page one, which was a list of rules for the game “Assassin.” From the synopsis on the back of the book I knew that the plot would eventually include a school shooting, and so the rules to Assassin were especially chilling.
Elisa Dane plays with some traditional YA characters like “the best friend,” “the douchebag,” “the mean girl,” and “the hot boyfriend,” and brings them to life in a book filled with tons of suspense. Sadie and her boyfriend Hayden are heroes to root for. They grapple with situations a lot of teens can relate to–bullies, sexual harassment, and parent problems. IMO there were some unnecessary f-bombs, but I’m probably just a prude. I started and finished In the After in one day because I loved it so much!
For more information about Elisa Dane, check out her fabulous Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/authorelisadane/