Title: The Cellar
Author: Natasha Preston
Pages: 356 pages
Published: March 1st, 2014
Genre: Mysterious, Thriller
Source: Paperback from Barnes & Noble
This summer I've been venturing down a long path of contemporary and mystery/thrillers. I love the suspense and excitement that these types of books take me on. I'm that type of girl that stays up late marathoning the last season of any criminal detective show. Also this book follows a realistic topic in society that is never really portrayed in books-- kidnapping and rape. I hope after the end of this review, I've convinced you all to read this twisted and mind-blowing bookWhen sixteen-year-old Summer Robinson goes missing one night, her family, friends and boyfriend are devastated. Nothing ever happens in Long Thorpe, so the disappearance of a school girl shocks the whole community. The police waste no time in launching a search and investigation, but with nothing to go on and no trace of Summer, hopes of finding her quickly fade.Colin Brown, is a thirty-year-old solicitor living alone after the death of his mother. He suffered a traumatic and abusive childhood, and is left with no sense of right and wrong. Desperate for the perfect family, Colin, referring to himself as Clover, turns to drastic measures to get what he wants.
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I liked how in one moment Summer was living a normal life and the next, she was being thrown into the back of a van and down a hidden cellar. The author makes it to be so easy to kidnap someone and get away with it-- not only one but many many times. Colin Brown, in search for the perfect family, kidnaps girls that have run away or are homeless. But Summer has a family, friends, and a boyfriend that is worried sick about her at home. And Summer finds out that she's not alone in the tiny, dark cellar. Later renamed Lily, Summer finds out that there are three other girls who have been stripped of their names and have been down here for a while.
This book is told from three point of views-- the captor, the captive, and the people looking for Summer (i.e. her boyfriend Lewis and her dear family). The changes in POV is not terribly confusing as it is stated on the top of every new page of every new chapter. These POV changes kept the story fresh and more interesting, as we got to see inside the twisted mind of these girl's captor. We also saw from Summer's POV, which was the best because she was our inside view into what Colin was actually doing with these girls.
I was thinking that this book was kind of like a HOW TO ESCAPE A KIDNAPPING SITUATION kind of thing since we were bombarded with all these POV and ideas from the characters. We learned from Summer that you can never give up on hope that people are out there looking for you and one day your captor will slip up and you can escape. I definitely learned that you shouldn't be walking on the streets alone at night.
This book discovers just so many aspects of this real life situation and it's terribly scary to be in the eyes of the captive, while the captor and kidnapper is doing whatever he pleases to you.
The characterization that the author sets up is impressive and I found myself gawking at some of the most foul and dirty scum of this story. Colin is seriously twisted and we can see from his actions that he has no sense, whatsoever, of what is wrong and what is right. He kills postitutes, kidnaps girls to preserve their innocence and smacks these girls when a flower dies. From the beginning, the author has made it clear that he is obsessed with innocence and cleanliness by making the girls take a shower 2 times a day and they should be fully dressed with makeup and everything by the time he comes down. What I thought was most disturbing was how he took a girl individually into this separate room and he basically did whatever he wanted with you in there, WHICH WAS TOTALLY GROSS! AND WRONG because no one should be having their hands on your body without permission, it's called rape. Preston does a fantastic job at making Colin seem terrifying and gave me chills throughout the book when the girls got scared.
Summer, the main girl that was kidnapped, was a kind of all-talk-but-never-do kind of girl. She constantly called Colin a psychotic freak but she never really did anything about it. When two girls attempted to escape by means of hurting Colin, she just watched them and didn't do anything. I guess you could say she was as bad as Rose and Poppy, the two girls who have been there the longest and has no sense of escaping whatsoever.
There is a sick romance in this book. Well I thought it was sick. You see, Colin thought that the girls he kidnapped belonged to him and were his to control or do whatever he wanted. He loved them as a family and took care of them, yes, but in a sick and demented way. In the end, he was even willing to kill all the girls and himself so they could be together, which by the way the girls were not okay with.The romance was supposed to be symbolic for something else as it was kind of abusive and dirty.
The Cellar is a very dark, yet realistic novel about what happens when you're kidnapped and when your kidnapping is not all sane. The story follows many POV's and is not confusing in any way. Preston's ability to characterize her characters and make them seem 10x scarier is phenomenal and she can run chills down your spine with just words. Don't read this book at night, ladies and gentlemen, but it's definitely a book that needs to be on your TBR this summer! Be prepared to be terrified and put on the edge of a cliff!