The 11th Hour by Kristine Scarrow
Published February 24th, 2018 by Dundurn
Genres YA, Fiction
One day, after weeks of secret planning, seventeen-year-old Annika Dietty leaves home at dawn to run away with her boyfriend, the charming and popular Dylan Sopick. She tried telling her friends and family how amazing Dylan is, but seeing as they all seem set against the relationship, she’s decided their only chance is to run away together.
But not everything goes according to plan, and Dylan seems to be having more and more trouble dealing with every obstacle they encounter. At first Annika is sympathetic, knowing that he’s had a harder life than she has, but very soon Dylan’s behaviour becomes unsettling, and Annika realizes that her safety is at stake. She finally admits to herself that Dylan needs help she can’t provide. She wants to get him to help — if she’ll get the chance.
This is a relatively short book and the first I have read by the author. The story is told from both Annika and Dylan’s perspective, flipping back and forth so we can see the situation from both perspectives. Going into this book just reading the synopsis, I assumed it was going to be more of an abusive controlling relationship, something like the story in Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios. However, this story ended up being centered around mental illness. Like I said, the story is relatively short and we don’t get a very great backstory about the characters and only a short history of their relationship. The book opens with Annika sneaking out of her house and running away with Dylan to a cabin several hours away owned by his family. During the trip there and once they arrive, you can see Dylan’s behavior changing and Annika notices things she previously has not.
I enjoyed this book, but I did have a few issues with it. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but we don’t ever really get a clear view of what mental illness Dylan is suffering from or what medications he is supposed to be taking. I rarely read fiction that is focused on mental illness because author’s very rarely portray it correctly, in my humble opinion. So I would have liked to understand Dylan and whatever mental illness he was suffering from a bit better. I also find it odd that Annika never before noticed any odd behavior from Dylan, as it sounds like they have been together for a decent amount of time, as they are talking about marriage at one point in the book and they run away together.
With that being said, I am fairly critical with any fictional books that deal with mental illness and the things I mentioned are just my own opinion. The ending of this book I both liked and didn’t like at the same time. I liked it because there is a plot twist that I did not see coming, one that made me stop and re-read several sentences. On the other hand, I tend to like endings that don’t leave me with any questions and I had many questions after I finished this book. Overall, I did enjoy this book, I just would have liked a bit more information about Dylan’s mental illness and the main characters backgrounds. I did enjoy the author’s writing and look forward to reading more from her in the future.
Thank you to the publisher, Dundurn, for sending me an ARC of this book.