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Review: Mister Tender's Girl

Review: Mister Tender's Girl

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Mister Tender's Girl, Carter Wilson
Published February 13, 2018 Sourcebooks Landmark
4 Stars

How far are you willing to go for Mister Tender?
At fourteen, Alice Hill was viciously attacked by two of her classmates and left to die. The teens claim she was a sacrifice for a man called Mister Tender, but that could never be true: Mister Tender doesn’t exist. His sinister character is pop-culture fiction, created by Alice’s own father in a series of popular graphic novels.

Over a decade later, Alice has changed her name and is trying to heal. But someone is watching her. They know more about Alice than any stranger could: her scars, her fears, and the secrets she keeps locked away. She can try to escape her past, but Mister Tender is never far behind. He will come with a smile that seduces, and a dark whisper in her ear…

Inspired by a true story, this gripping thriller plunges you into a world of haunting memories and unseen threats, leaving you guessing until the harrowing end.

If you're someone who's looking for the perfect Anti-Valentine gift, this might make for the perfect treat!

As someone who strives to avoid being a rubbernecker, who tries not to be the kind of person who pores over terrible topics made sensational, I don't know all that much about the details of the girl who was victimized in the name of Slenderman. I know that it happened because I remember the headlines, but I've shunned the world of creepy fetishists...at least until I read about this book.

Maybe because it's fiction I found the idea of rummaging through the personal life of a victim more palatable. And between the creepy twins, graphic novel references, and the awareness of too many prying eyes, this book had me hooked.

There was also an unexpected current of humor throughout many parts of the book and it balanced out some of the horror of the story while also just serving to hit that macabre sweet spot I have for finding humor in even the darkest of times.

As always, I want to keep this review strictly spoiler free, but I will say there is such a deep confluence of terrible people in Alice's life that I frowned not only at the idea of people like this existing, but occasionally at how convenient that is for a horror-style story. And there are multiple events throughout the story that would require some kind of consequence that never comes, which sometimes feels like "luck" for the sake of maintaining high-stakes moments, i.e. guns being fired that draw no attention from anyone in a resident neighborhood. I don't love loose ends and improbable "I got away with it" moments, but it's not enough to detract from the story as a whole.

Overall, there was a certain "it-factor" to the story and the style that kept me turning pages, finishing the book in just one evening and one morning. I loved that Alice knew how to defend herself and absolutely had to root for her as character.

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