Hello! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Demetra Brodsky’s awesome Dive Smack! This is a debut I’ve been so excited for since a while back, and it’s so amazing for it to finally be out in the world!
And I am so glad to say that this did not disappoint! I really enjoyed reading and am so excited for everyone to be able to read this awesome book! (There’s even a giveaway for Dive Smack at the end of the post! *hint hint*)
It revolves around Theo Mackey, who believes he lit the match that started the fire that destroyed his family home and killed his mother. Despite it being an accident, it’s had sever consequences for Theo, eventually causing his father to go on a path of self-destruction. Everything else is a gaping hole in Theo’s mind.
Yet, when a family history project is assigned in school, new memories come rushing to the surface, and it’s not only making Theo question what he knows, but also putting his position as captin of the Ellis Hollow Diving Team at risk.
Theo’s so close to putting his past behind him, but now he’s wondering what he knows about his family, the night of the fire, and if he can trust anyone—including himself.
I really enjoyed reading this one! It was a very solid debut, and only got better as I read on.
I’m going to treat this review like ripping off the bandaid, taking care of the few meh things first, before jumping on all the positives (and there’s a lot of them–positives that is).
There were a total of two things that I wasn’t too fond of, in the scope of the billion other things I loved.
- The first half was slower than I wanted it to be. Maybe I have a short attention span. Maybe I wasn’t invested yet. But I feel like Brodsky didn’t whet our appetites enough in the beginning and add enough intrigue at the start to make me really feel invested in the novel. It took a lot longer to start, but once I got to the halfway point, I was eating this book up like it was the best thing that ever happened to me. The second half was sooo worth it.
- The premise needed a little more basis and background. As much as I like how Theo learns all these things about himself, I just felt like what spurred it on (a school project on family) didn’t have enough backing to it and felt kind of weak and out of the blue despite it being the sole reason this book exists. Without the project, this wouldn’t really be happening. So I wanted more discourse on just why the project exists and how it’s important.
Despite both of these, I still really enjoyed the book. There were just so many good things to it.
It was absolutely thrilling by the end. I am so surprised by how invested I got in this novel, and I definitely didn’t expect that! There was so much going on that you don’t realize during the first half, but things are slowly revealed and you become more and more suspicious of some characters, and it was all so intriguing.
Brodsky totally rocked the thriller/mystery aspect of this novel, and it was my absolute favorite part of reading this book! There are so many clues Brodsky leaves in the first half, but it’s a shame that you don’t know they’re clues until the second half because they’re all important, yet less intriguing when you don’t suspect anything.
Besides this, I really enjoyed the other aspects of the premise. I found it really cool to read about Theo, a diver, as I’ve never read many books featuring this sport before. But I really love how Theo’s performance in diving was a sort of parallel to how disastrous his life was at the moment. Plus, it’s still a very important part to the plot.
Also, it has a male narrator. Now, I really love my girls, but it was cool to see a male narrator and more importantly, male friendships that weren’t pissing contests! Theo and Chip were such great friends and I really liked seeing their supportive dynamic. Even Theo and the rest of the team & rival team had some decent interactions, which was really positive to see.
(Now I just need a male reader to tell me if this is accurate.)
Plus, family! I love how important family was to this novel, and was definitely torn over a couple members in this book. Theo’s kind of lost without his family, and seeing his journey to building relationships and finding new people (surrogate or not) to have as a family was really enjoyable.
Overall, I really liked reading Dive Smack, especially for the mystery, and totally recommend! Seriously, stick it through at least past halfway, because I assure you the mystery is worth it!
Thank you so much to Tor Teen and Jean Book Nerd for providing me with an advance reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review!
More About the Book
Dive Smack by Demetra Brodsky
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen (June 19, 2018)
Theo Mackey only remembers one thing for certain about the fire that destroyed his home: he lit the match.
Sure, it was an accident. But the blaze killed his mom and set his dad on a path to self-destruction. Everything else about that fateful night is full of gaping holes in Theo’s mind, for good reason. Maybe it’s better that way. As captain of the Ellis Hollow Diving Team, with straight A’s and solid friends, he’s only one semester away from securing a scholarship, and leaving his past behind.
But when a family history project gets assigned at school, new memories come rushing to the surface, memories that make him question what he really knows about his family, the night of the fire, and if he can trust anyone—including himself.
A 2018 JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION
Praise for Dive Smack
“A tense psychological drama with a voice that pulls you in and a twist you won’t see coming, Dive Smack is an instant Hitchcockian classic!” —Gretchen McNeil, author of Ten
“A twisty, witty thriller readers will love puzzling through to the very end. A visceral, delightful debut.” —Carrie Mesrobian, author of William C. Morris award finalist Sex & Violence
“This riveting debut will plunge readers into an accelerating coil of twists and turns as if in free fall, plummeting them from a precipice as they cling to the dwindling hope of safe entry into the mysterious darkness below.” —S.A. Bodeen, author of The Compound
“Brodsky’s debut combines an engaging school story, filled with best friend shenanigans, first love, and a fascinating look at competitive diving, with a tense psychological mystery.” —Booklist
“In an impressive debut, Brodsky injects her teen drama with ambiguity, and a subtle hint of paranormal phenomena, leaving readers to guess at what’s really going on. Strong characters and a compelling mystery make this a real page-turner.” —Publishers Weekly
“A taut thriller with a twist ending that will blow your mind.” —Kim Liggett, Bram Stoker Award-Winning Author of The Last Harvest
“Complex, thrilling, and with a pitch-perfect narrative voice, Dive Smack will leave you on the edge of your seat and unable to put this one down.” —C. Desir, author of Bleed Like Me
“Heartbreaking, human and heroic, Dive Smack is a Perfect 10!” —Karen LaFace, 1992 USA Olympic Springboard Diver
“A taut roller coaster of a thriller chock full of dark family secrets, twisty lies, and finally, the redeeming power of truth.” —Michelle Zink, author of This Wicked Game
More About the Author
Demetra Brodsky is an award-winning graphic designer & art director turned writer. She has a B.F.A. from The Massachusetts College of Art and Design and lives in Southern California with her family of four and two lovable rescue dogs where she is always trying to make more time for the beach. Dive Smack is dedicated to Pumpkin, the monarch butterfly she once saved from the brink of death. Once you read the book, you’ll understand why.
Want to try your luck at winning a copy of Demetra Brodsky’s Dive Smack? Click the Rafflecopter button below to enter where five lucky winners will receive a copy of Dive Smack! (Open INTERNATIONALLY) Or, you can use the buy links in the “More About the Book” section to guarantee your copy!
Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour below! They have some awesome posts up!
JUNE 18th MONDAY JeanBookNerd REVIEW & INTERVIEW
JUNE 18th MONDAY TMBA Corbett Tries to Write EXCERPT
JUNE 19th TUESDAY The Cozy Reading Corner EXCERPT
JUNE 19th TUESDAY Lauren’s Boook Shelf REVIEW
JUNE 20th WEDNESDAY Vicky Who Reads REVIEW
JUNE 20th WEDNESDAY Movies, Shows, & Books EXCERPT
JUNE 21st THURSDAY Book Queen Reviews REVIEW
JUNE 21st THURSDAY Crossroad Reviews REVIEW
JUNE 22nd FRIDAY BookHounds YA REVIEW