You Know What You Have to Do by Bonnie Shimko

9:34 PM

Title: You Know What You Have to Do
Author: Bonnie Shimko
Publish Date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing
Pages: 240
Buy the Book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
Rating: ★★★

This quirky, appealing YA novel turns formulaic teen fiction on its head as funny, feisty fifteen year-old Mary-Magdalene Feigenbaum (otherwise known as Maggie) suddenly faces more than the usual typical YA concerns: a voice in her head that is telling her to kill people. Not just anyone—each time the target is someone who has done something terrible to a person Maggie cares for. You know what you have to do, the voice commands. Maggie struggles to resist, but the voice is relentless.

With rising suspense, this story of psychological horror introduces a narrator whose own unique voice and irreverent humor are unforgettable—an unlikely hero fighting a desperate battle against incomprehensible evil.

You know, I've never been the type of person to like or even read a horror book. In fact I frequently avoid them like the plague. But I decided that I would try this one out and see what I thought of it. Even though it's not my cup of tea, I actually thought it was a decent read and this is coming from someone who thoroughly hates all horror books. So that must mean its good then, right? I'll say this, the title is creepy enough as it is.

You Know What You Have to Do by Bonnie Shimko is the creepy tale of Mary-Magdalene, a girl who can hear voices in her head. Typically we associate voices in our head as the kind that tells us to be better or do better but this one is different. This voice wants something dark and sinister from Maggie. It wants her to kill people and even if they are "bad" people, it still doesn't seem right for her to kill them. But when she refuses, her head begins to pound until the point that she can't think straight and the only thoughts in her head are the relentless voice urging her to do awful things. At first the killings seem to be meant to help other people out and then something snaps. Even the most innocent, a baby, is being subjected to the voice's constant presence of murder. Is no one safe? It sure seems that way.

The plot itself is unique and intriguing, even if it is increasingly getting creepier with each turn of the page. It's honestly a beautifully complex story that the author has created and I applaud how well she has done in making a unique plot. The writing style of the story is honestly well thought out and gives this eery feeling to the words that seem to just jump off the page. A haunting feeling resonates with the story. The words linger with you long after the story is completed. The plot twists are so well designed that they are as unsettling as the plot itself. It's crazy.

Maggie is the main character of the story and I'm still trying to decide whether she is crazy or if the voice is legitimately there. She is a strong character with a willful personality which is why she refuses to ever accept what the voice tells her right off the bat. I admire her strength against the people and the things she faces. Even though I don't like horrors, I do like her character because she is very relatable and that's probably what made her story hard to read. I connected with her, only to have her suffer. 

Roxie is the mother that nobody wants and yet some people are unlucky enough to have. Controlling and scatterbrained are two words that should never be associated with mothers and yet that is what fits her to a 'T'. Harry who is her stepfather is the bright spot of the story. Unlike pop culture's perception of stepfathers, he seems to be a genuinely nice guy and the outcome of his story was really disappointing. Sadly it was not surprising either. Her birth father was a character that I wished was better explored and I actually wanted to know more about him. He seemed like an interesting character that could've had a story of his own.

You know the creepy boy next door? The one that you are sure is peeping through your windows? Yeah, that's Lester. He goes beyond the puppy dog unrequited crush and turns into a controlling stalker that I wanted to strangle. If anyone was crazy in this story, it would definitely be him. I was sad to see her friend, Abigail, become something that she wasn't. It quickly became real that this best friend wasn't so great after all. I've always hated the sort of friends that are like Abigail and the author's portrayal of her character was very real. Jacob is the crush that seems to dominate the first quarter of the book. He seemed to be the sort of guy that everyone liked and just based on how he acted, I probably would've had a crush on him. It turns out that he isn't a great guy after all. You'll find out why.

This story is a constant game of whether someone is really who they say they are. Do you trust someone completely? Should you, even after knowing them for years? This book makes you question everything, including yourself.

About the author

Bailee is the type of person you would expect to find with her nose buried in a book or a notebook and a pencil in hand. She loves reading and she loves reviewing the books she reads. This is certainly becoming a passion of hers.