Published by Katherine Tegen Books on October 10th, 2017
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.
Edgar Award–winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a dark and gripping psychological thriller about a girl at war with herself, and what it really means to be good or bad.
I honestly don’t even know what I am thinking or feeling right now. What the hell did I just read? This Darkness Mine is truly one of the most disturbing YA books I’ve ever read (though the title for most disturbing book of all goes to The Vegetarian).
This book’s synopsis sounds much more romantic that the pages actually are – and not just regular romance; I mean cleaner, nicer. This was actually sick and disgusting and confusing and yet strangely compelling. Halfway through the book I couldn’t tell if I even liked it, I just knew I couldn’t put it down. I had to keep going, had to find out how this was all going to come together. All the events seemed so impossible, a happy ending for anyone was absolutely nowhere in sight. Clearly, I’m struggling to review this. I don’t think this is a book that one can actually review without giving away too much detail. Well, Bekka, what was it about? I don’t know and even if I did, I couldn’t tell you. Did you like it? I still don’t know.
I can say for sure that the writing itself was incredible. It’s been a while since I’ve read a McGinnis book, the last one having been Not a Drop to Drink which is kind of out of place when you look at her body of work. But the thing I remember the most was the author’s ability to write wildly complex characters. And she did this with Sasha Stone. Sasha is a Good Girl: she doesn’t say “bad words,” she doesn’t drink or smoke or shout or goof off or fall out of in line any way at all. She does everything exactly as she’s supposed to, paving the path to get what she believes she deserves, which is, namely, success. Sasha has such an unblemished, polished veneer that once the cracks start, it’s impossible not to notice. All the people in her life, from her “friends” to her boyfriend and even her emotionally distant father can all tell immediately something is off about Sasha. And Sasha is never off.
Without going into much detail, I will let you know exactly how unsettling this story is by filling you in on the first scene: Sasha and her best friend Brooke, in the girls’ bathroom, Sasha digging splinters out of her gums with tweezers while Brooke watching. And that’s the least disgusting thing you’ll see here. I like disturbing. I watch horror movies, even and especially ones with gore and I have mirror touch synesthesia, so it’s not like it’s a pleasant experience. I read weird ass books like The Vegetarian and hardly cringe at all. But this? This Darkness Mine made me sick to my stomach in a way I’m not used to. I feel a bit like Sasha Stone when she notices things are amiss – I’m not sure what to think.
So, the book had beautiful writing and terrifying imagery and a story I won’t soon forget. I can’t say I actually enjoyed reading this, but I have to hand it to Mindy McGinnis: she’s a master at her craft. I don’t really know who to recommend this to, if I’d even recommend it at all. See? I’m just so conflicted because I both hated it and loved it all at once.