Elizabeth McCracken, “Thunderstruck”

51vAWyA+csL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_After 12-year-old Helen is caught sneaking out of the house, her parents suddenly decide to move the family to Paris for five weeks.

(from Thunderstruck)

She never really got her bearings in the city, no matter how she studied the map. Paris on paper always looked like a box of peanut brittle that had been dropped onto the ground, the Seine the unraveled ribbon that held it together.

“What’s your favorite thing in Paris?” Wes asked.

“My Family,” she answered. That was the truth.

Well this is the end of Thunderstruck, and it’s a heartbreaker. I guess I should have expected that of the title track. It’s long and sad, fast-paced and full of surprises. I’m not gonna spoil the biggest, saddest surprise but it’s the one that’s gonna stick with me. I’ve seen all kinds of “scariest stories” lists recently, and I’m sure I’ll be referring to them soon, but I think I stumbled into the right kind of story to read on Halloween. What happened to Helen is my nightmare, either happening to me or to somebody I know.

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