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Publisher's Note:  

New York Times bestselling author Nancy Werlin returns to YA suspense with this page-turner mystery for fans of Lauren Oliver, Neal Shusterman, and Lois Duncan
 
Let’s not die today. Not even to make things easier for our parents.
 
When a building collapses around five teenagers—and they just barely escape—they know something strange is going on. Little by little, the group pieces together a theory: Their parents are working together to kill them all. Is it true? And if so, how did their parents come together—and why? And, most importantly, how can the five of them work together to save themselves? With an unlikely group of heroes, sky-high stakes, and two budding romances, this gripping murder mystery will keep readers guessing until the last page.



This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Dial Books for Young Readers


And Then There Were Four

by Nancy Werlin

Review Date:
06/07/2017

Recommended Age:
16+

Overall Rating:
****

Profanity / Language Rating:
********

Violence / Gore Rating:
*****

Sex / Nudity Rating:
***

Overall Review:  

This was a messed-up book. And by messed up, I mean the plot was really dark, and the psychological element was horrifying, and the overall conclusion was terrifyingly well done. I mean, having five teenagers as the crux of a murderous conspiracy is pretty messed up! But Nancy Werlin managed to pull it off without ever getting too graphic or needlessly violent.

For some reason, it reminded me vaguely of an Agatha Christie murder novel (perhaps it was the title, reminiscent to me of And Then There Were None), and the resultant reveal of why the murders were set in motion was disturbing and all too believable. I really liked the main characters, Saralinda and Caleb, who tell the stories in alternating chapters with distinctive "voices" per chapter. By its very nature (a plot to murder five teens), And Then There Were Four is a violent book with a constant underlying tension that slowly escalates to its white-knuckle conclusion.

See content write-up below for issues that may be sensitive for some. However, if you are reading it only for the plot (which is excellently done), be ready for an engaging, fast-paced, character driven novel with a climax I didn't see coming.


Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language: 25 religious exclamations; 5 mild obscenities; 1 religious profanity; 6 derogatory names; 2 scatological words; 4 anatomical terms; 5 F-word derivatives. 

Violence/Gore: A murder by gunshot is sometimes discussed; in an extended scene, characters are trapped under a collapsed building and discuss their messed-up lives and relationships; a character is presumed to be sociopathic; characters go to the hospital to treat injuries; a character accuses someone of attempted murder; characters occasionally discuss and try to understand someone's means and motives to commit murder; characters often say relatives want them dead; a character talks about her birth defect and chronic illness; characters are disclosed to have serious health issues; a characters is reported to have suicidal ideation; a character has a verbal fight with another; characters are in a car crash; a character is killed in an explosion; a character cuts himself with a knife; characters often discuss why people would want to murder them; a character is described having psychological issues; characters are pursued by a policeman; characters steal a boat; a character hits his head on a pole; characters threaten other characters; a character reports someone as being mentally abusive; a character has thoughts of his past destructive and sociopathic behavior; a character steals prescription paper; a conspiracy to commit multiple murders is revealed; a character has trouble with her medical condition; characters make a video to document proof of attempted murders; a character is suspected to have been poisoned; in an extended scene, an adult character rages at a teenage girl and accuses her of being a slut, rude, inconsiderate, scheming and insensitive and wishes she had never been born or that she would die; a character tricks someone into revealing the conspiracy against five teenagers; characters upload a video to social media to reveal a murder plot; an adult character commits suicide in front of teenagers; a character is taken to the hospital in critical condition; a character is presumed dead; a character poisons herself; a character accidentally kills a sociopathic character.

Sex/Nudity: (Note:  Be aware there is a fairly prominent gay couple in an underlying subplot, if you have a sensitivity to that particular lifestyle.)  Characters are said to have crushes on others'; a character jokes about positioning not being sexy-times; a character is said to be homophobic; a teenage character notices a woman's breasts; mention of gays; a male character secretly admits to having a "thing" for a girl; a male couple are seen walking; a girl tells a boy that another boy was checking him out; characters look at a wedding picture of two women; a character mentions getting rape threats; a female character says she is going to marry a woman; characters strip out of wet clothing to prevent hypothermia (not sexual); a female character notices a shirtless male character's muscles and shoulders; a gay girl denies making a pass at a straight girl; characters are described as half naked; a female character kisses a male character on the cheek (not sexual); a character imagines someone to have a bosom like a pillow; a character exits a shower wearing a towel; a male character thinks of his female crush in a shower; two girls share an intimate moment and a kiss (not overly sexual); two female characters go into the same room and shut the door; a male character holds a female character; a male and female character occasionally have romantic thoughts about each other; a male character helps a female character take an insulin shot (slightly intimate, but not overly sexual); characters are disclosed as lovers; an adult male checks out a female teenager's breasts; a gay couple sit entwined; two couples (gay and straight) sleep together; a straight couple kiss.



Mature Subject Matter:  

Murder, suicide, tattoos, mental illness, psychological abuse, emotional abuse, chronic disease, racism, suicide, sexual orientation, homosexuality, trauma.



Alcohol / Drug Use:  

A character takes medication for anxiety; a character takes medication for a personality disorder; a character takes insulin for diabetes; characters are said to have the smell of alcohol wafting off them; adults offer vodka to teenagers.



Reviewed By Katrina
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