Eva is sixteen and experiencing all of the excitement of being in love for the first time. And this weekend promises to be special, as she and her boyfriend, Julian, will be spending time at his parents’ country house. Nothing could be more perfect. Except the journey to the country is anything but, and Eva’s dream weekend is turning into a total nightmare.
When Eva’s train is delayed, she is unable to pick up Julian. She soon finds herself alone on a forest road late at night—and the witness to a group of teenagers beating a young boy. As she somehow sneaks by unnoticed, she also loses her diary, an incredibly personal book that holds all of her secrets—including details of her visits to a psychotherapist. So when she meets a kindred spirit who shares her demons and seems to know so much, she has to wonder whether he has read her thoughts.
Exploring the hopes, fears, and dangers of adolescence, Vertigo spins a riveting tale of extraordinary emotional range and intensity.
Number of Pages: 234
Reviewed by Ellie, age 15For such a small novel, Vertigo by Kristina Dunker packs a punch. Originally written in German and translated by Katja Bell, the book combines the aspects of mystery, romance, and thrills into one rollercoaster of emotion, all told through the eyes of a young woman, Eva.
Vertigo starts with the aforementioned Eva, a sixteen-year old girl who is going on vacation with her boyfriend, Julian. What begins as a relaxing vacation takes a turn for the worst when Eva decides to walk through a dark forest to the country house where she and Julian are staying. While walking, she witnesses a boy being beaten by several teenagers. This beating later sheds light on quite a few suspicious incidences, including her boyfriend’s sketchy friends, Eva’s lack of trust with Julian, and the disappearance of a local girl. Eva then has to deal with these problems along with issues of her own.
The one thing I can say for this book is that it never lets up. I was unimpressed by some aspects of Eva’s adventures, but I was never bored or wanted to stop reading. Dunker does a fabulous job creating an intriguing plot that would fascinate even the most reluctant reader. I also loved the mystery surrounding Alina, the girl who goes missing just before Eva arrives for vacation. Eva also deals with more personal trials, including her struggle against anxiety, nerves, and vertigo (a condition in which a person feels like they are moving when they are actually still).
I had a few issues with this book, one of which has to do with the characters. They sometimes felt flat and one-dimensional. While there is some brilliant character building in Eva, Julian, and even Mirko (the friendless boy living next door to Eva and Julian), many of the other characters seemed dull. I also disliked some of Eva’s trials, mostly because they seemed unneeded. For instance, Eva’s struggles with vertigo and her relationship with Julian sometimes seemed a bit forced.
In conclusion, this book is a mass of contradictions for me. It equally frustrated me and made me want more. My final take on Vertigo is that it makes a simple summer read, and I would recommend this book to all who enjoy a quick mystery.
Thanks to AmazonCrossing for the review copy!!
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