ARC Review: This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis

This Darkness MineThis Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her oxford-wearing boyfriend. She’s worked her entire life to ensure that her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved.

But suddenly there’s a fork in the road, in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, her skin misses his touch even though she’s never known it, and she relishes the smell of him—smoke, beer, and trouble—all the things she’s avoided to get where she is. Even worse, every time he’s near Sasha, her heart stops, literally. Why does he know her so well—too well—and she doesn’t know him at all?

Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending another’s: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. But that doesn’t explain the gaps of missing time in her practice schedule or the memories she has of things she certainly never did with Isaac. As Sasha loses her much-cherished control, her life—and heart—become more entangled with Isaac. Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she’s willing to do—and who she’s willing to hurt—to take it back.

This character-driven psychological plot had me going like – yes, give me more dark protagonists, girls who are bad just for the sake of being bad. I don’t want to give the suspense away, so I’ll just go with the ending leaving me conflicted over the fact that I loved the character of Sasha so much. So, Sasha is this focused IDGAF kinda girl – and she basically manipulates the people around her very subtly. She is also very unapologetic about it, so much so that everyone considers her a bitch, even her two best friends, of whom Brooke was the one who should actually make your psychopath-radars going off. Anyway, Sasha suddenly starts noticing Isaac, but she has sense memories of him that she doesn’t recall having. She is drawn to him, and while trying to figure out the reason for her sudden attraction to him, she discovers that she had swallowed her twin in the womb.

What happens next is psychological warfare – Sasha is battling for control of her body with her twin, Shanna, but because she feels guilty about oops, killing her in the womb, she lets ‘her’ have fun with Isaac. Turns out sis only had objections with Sasha’s straight-laced boyfriend Heath, and wanted to get laid desperately, and preferably by bad boy Isaac. Isaac, for his part is confused but he is falling for her, so he goes along with it. But when an accident lands her in the hospital, and a physical condition is revealed, she has to decide whether to let people think she is mentally unstable and risk getting a heart transplant, or go along and play the good girl Sasha and keep Shanna in check.

Over the course of the story, Sasha gets progressively darker, though I like to believe it is progressively revealing her darkness slowly. What first is put forth as a self-centered girl, soon starts to develop into a weird kid who had shown odd tendencies from her childhood, so much so that her father was a little scared of her. The title and the cover (which is genius) masterfully give away much of the reveal, but it makes more sense when you actually get to it. Towards the ending, though, I was scared – of what she would do, what would happen and how far will it go. Suffice to say, I was as horrified as a certain someone in the book (hope therapy heals that character, though).

I must say, though, at the start I was like – heck no, this is not possible but by the end I was screaming OMG in my head. McGinnis writes in a way to lure you into the story innocently and then turns the dial on the dread-o-meter. This is truly a thriller, and it was only the slow start, boring romance and slightly exaggerated reactions that made me drop a star. Otherwise, this book was quite entertaining. *slow claps it out*

Content warning: Violence, self-harm, mentions of accidental death

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Katherine Tegen Books, via Edelweiss.

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