March 1, 2014
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Nothing ever happens in the town of Long Thorpe – that is, until sixteen-year-old Summer Robinson disappears without a trace. No family or police investigation can track her down. Spending months inside the cellar of her kidnapper with several other girls, Summer learns of Colin’s abusive past, and his thoughts of his victims being his family…his perfect, pure flowers. But flowers can’t survive long cut off from the sun, and time is running out….
The Cellar by Natasha Preston, first published on Wattpad, is a very enjoyable thriller, mystery. It is also an example of not judging a book by its first few pages. The weakest part of the novel, definitely, was the very beginning. In those first few pages, we do meet Summer, her boyfriend and her family. It's a necessary introduction and one where we get a very good sense of her relationships, but it did not flow very well.
Right after that introduction, though, is when Summer is taken. It is then that the story greatly improves. Her abductor elicits an almost immediate feeling of tension, of something not being quite right - in both Summer and readers.
The alternating view points move the story along quickly. We are able to experience not only what Summer is as she's held captive, but to know what's happening in the lives of other in the story. We know what's transpiring in the search for Summer and we also get glimpses into just who Colin is.
These different narrations give us insight into the full world of The Cellar and also help in amping up the tension and suspense. We can see how desperate her family and boyfriend are to find her, while also getting more of a look at her captor and how he conducts himself. You end up hoping that they will succeed and find her while worrying over just what damage he is capable of inflicting.
There are also little flashbacks with the different characters that give us more background on who they are and a better idea about their interactions. While I did like these little glimpses into the past, they made the timeline more confusing. The 'present' of the story is told using dates within each characters narration; the date (ex July 24) is listed and then '('present'). With the flashbacks, however, a year is given (ex 2005). If you were reading this on Wattpad a few years ago, that would all work. Now, though, it doesn't add up. Either the flashbacks should have said 'x years ago' or the now needed to be 2010.
It was not a big thing but several past bits happened before one that made it clear that the present was not 2014. The scenes I'd already read took on a whole new meaning when they were four less years ago.
The Cellar is full of suspense and mystery. It will keep you anxiously turning the pages until you reach the end.
Other books you might also enjoy: The She Disappeared by April Henry and The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain