I Am Not A Serial Killer (John Cleaver Books) - Dan Wells
This is another one that is hard for me to rate. Because of the summary I went into it thinking it was one thing, but it turned out to be completely different. If I was rating the book on what I thought it was going to be, I'd give it two stars. I'm disappointed that it didn't turn out to be what I was expecting and I'm still struggling with whether or not I should give this three stars instead. I'm not giving away what this surprise element was, but I really suggest you find out what it is before you endeavor to read this book. That way you'll go in knowing what you're going to get and you won't be disappointed or taken by surprise. (I'm going to mention what it is behind a spoiler cut, but I won't give anymore spoilers than that if you want to know what it is.) However, objectively rating the book on what it is, I think it is a four star book. It is very well written YA. The best YA I've read in I don't know how long. John Cleaver being a sociopath is something I have never read before so it was a really interesting character perspective. I wish there had been a little bit more about John struggling with this, and about the relationships he did have. It was definitely good but I felt like there was an extra step that Wells could have taken that would connect us to him more, even though he can't connect with anyone else. This could have easily been a conscious choice on Wells's part, which I can respect. There was a part where John was trying to figure out the killer's motivations and I was slapping myself in the head because it was so obvious that it was almost screaming in his face. Until that point he had been very intelligent about figuring the killer out. I really appreciated the fact that it wasn't a silly plot device by Wells (something we see in so many other books), but that John legitimately could not figure out the answer because he lacked the capacity to understand due to his being a sociopath.Where it derailed for me is the introduction of this supernatural element. I thought, and it was indicated by the summary, that this was an all human story about a boy struggling with his desires to kill while trying to catch a real life serial killer. I think this would have definitely been enough, especially going through John's struggles with the Monster inside him and getting close to the breaking point and how he compares to the real serial killer. However, the killer isn't human, thus the killings aren't driven by psychology, but physical necessity. It was still a very interesting story to read, and obviously I gave it four stars for what it is because I think if I had known about this before I read it I wouldn't have the reservations that make me want to give it three stars, but it could have been better. The supernatural killer brought the story down to a much more juvenile level that I think the story and Wells could have risen above.Overall, I would definitely recommend this book for everyone (although not anyone with a weak stomach – dead bodies and mortuary work are described in explicit detail) as long as you find out the surprise element before you read it.**Yes, I changed it. The more I think about my disappointment the more I think it needs to be a three, at most.**