Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Milly has huge problems on her hands. She is being bullied by Amelia Norris. Day in and day out, Amelia torments Milly and even threatens to hurt her, but she can’t tell anyone – not a soul. Milly’s reasoning – she doesn’t want anyone to know where her tormentor lives. They only share one thing in common. Both co-exist as one in the same body. Milly is so disconnected from her past that she feels compelled to find out what truly happened to her when her parents were still alive. After a mysterious fire, she and Grandpa George move into Aunt Rachel’s Victorian home where Milly then begins to unravel puzzling clues to her family history. Through dreams and scattered memories, Milly journals her breaking story, trying to cope by putting the shattered pieces back together, all the while resisting with her inner demon. Amelia is determined to cut Milly out of the real world – literally. Milly starts to wonder who her real family is after stumbling Aunt Rachel’s notebook – having the intuitive sense that something terribly awful is missing. All she has thought to be true now seems like one big lie.
Review: I so expected to enjoy this book. The cover, the summary… everything sounded attractive to me. Unfortunately, it was far, far from meeting my expectations.
Disconnected tells the story of Milly and Amelia who in fact are one single person. Amelia used to be Milly’s imaginary friend when she was a child, before turning into her tormenter after her parents’ death, constantly bringing her down and insufflating her with negative thoughts. Amelia is taking more and more space in Milly’s soul and body, but she has no way to get rid of her. In the same time, she also finds out that her parents’ death – officially in a car accident – hides terrible secrets about her family’s past. Pushed by Amelia, she will try to unravel the truth…
I was really eager to read this book. Everything related to psychology and especially dissociative identity disorders interests me much, I find the subject to be fascinating. Disconnected therefore had a good start, yet it quickly began to bore me. It is a very short book (about 200 pages) which could easily be read in a couple of hours if it was thrilling. But the problem is that it is not. The first two thirds only consist in Milly struggling with Amelia in all kind of daily life situations. It quickly gets repetitive and long, especially since the “identity disorder” aspect isn’t developed enough. We can’t see any evolution in Milly and her alter’s “relationship” (if I can say so). Her mental illness is detected by the people around her at the end of the book only (and they don’t even seem shocked to learn that she has schizophrenia), and even her stay in mental hospital doesn’t bring any evolution in her situation.
The author tried to enrich her storyline with a second plot about Milly’s parents, however it isn’t developed enough either. All throughout the book we see the heroine guessing that there’s something wrong about that car accident and trying (not so actively I must say) to unravel the truth. And then we’re given the solution all of a sudden within the last chapters instead of having the information given away bit by bit as Milly does her research, which would have enhanced the mystery and therefore the readers’ interest.
Also the characters are suffering from a big lack of depth. The book, written in the first person, focuses on Milly’s character as well as her alter Amelia’s, and really, really little information is given about the other characters. Beth, Grandpa George, Aunt Rachel, Blake… we know so very little about them, they almost are just names. And thinking about it, even Milly and Amelia aren’t so developed. I wouldn’t be able to give a precise description of them.
I didn’t get attached to any of these characters. In fact, I only lived the story from the outside, never really got into it.
There is a romance in the middle of it all (obviously, have you ever read a Young Adult book without any romance?), but it was the least useful and the least credible aspect of the story. It is going way too fast – I mean, Milly and Blake have barely seen each other three times and they already are madly in love, like they’ve known each other for ever. I doubt this would happen in real life.
In fact, reading Disconnected I felt like I was reading a first draft, not a soon to be published book. There are good ideas and I am certain that a very good book could come out of them, however as it is now, this novel was a huge disappointment. What a shame!
I’d recommend it to you if: If you, like me, have an interest in psychology, you might want to give it a try. But to be honest, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone sadly.