The Obsession by Jesse Q Sutanto. Sourcebooks Fire, 2021. 9781728215167
Format: ARC (2/21 pub date)
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
Genre: Realistic fiction
What did you like about the book? Delilah has to walk on tenterhooks at home because of her abusive stepfather. When she meets Logan, one of the most handsome and popular boys in her class, it’s like he’s a ray of sunshine. It seems like they are made for each other. Then comes the accident, [SPOILER ALERT] when she inadvertently kills Brandon, her nasty stepfather. Assuming that no one will believe that it was an accident, Delilah invents a story to explain that she was not there when he died. Around this time, she realizes that Logan is too good to be true and tries to break up with him. Revealing the extent to which he was stalking her, Logan explains that he actually has a video of her causing the accident which killed Brandon, and Delilah realizes that she is being blackmailed into a relationship with a boy who is mentally ill and as controlling as her stepfather. Of course Delilah doesn’t confide the truth to the pesky detective investigating the case of Brandon’s death, nor does she tell her best friend or her mom. Add in drugs, issues of class around a day student going to an elite boarding school, and the fact that Delilah is half Indonesian with a crazy white boyfriend, and you have a lot going on to build the suspense.
The novel is told in alternating voices by Delilah and Logan, and in a way the reader can sympathize with both of them. Delilah is grieving her dead father, concealing the facts about her dead stepfather and feels unable to extricate herself from another abusive relationship. Logan is truly mentally ill, and although that does not excuse his behavior, it’s clear he needs help and that the adults around him have fallen down on the job. And [ANOTHER SPOILER ALERT!] there are drugs around, which helps make the resolution pretty horrifying. The story succeeds as a thriller, but does not quite deliver as a cautionary tale for telling the truth, although I don’t think that’s the aim.
Anything you didn’t like about it? The ending was truly horrible for Delilah. Drugs are used as revenge and it’s hard to feel sympathy for her by the end.
To whom would you recommend this book? For ages 14 & up, fans of suspenseful thriller/revenge fiction
Who should buy this book? High school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Teen fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: January 23, 2021