BOOK OF THE WEEK:
TAKE YOUR TURN TEDDY by Haley Newlin
It’s March 1st (rabbit, rabbit) and I have a phenomenal book for you to read. This book left me with an emptiness inside, but only because it completely gutted me. My selection this week is Haley Newlin’s Take Your Turn, Teddy.
Take Your Turn, Teddy is among many things, a coming of age story. The characters in this story, especially Teddy, come alive on the page and I couldn’t help but get emotionally invested. Teddy broke my heart in so many ways and there are tiny aspects of his character that I could relate to. I am not crazy nor do I think about or commit such crimes, but I do understand being exposed to things as a child and that deep, dark feeling of isolation.
Teddy is a naive and innocent kid coming home from elementary school, but when he arrives he encounters something he wasn’t meant to see. And what he sees is quite different from what we understand as readers. He’s confused by what his dad is doing, and of course, his dad tries to explain it all in a way that Teddy can comprehend and ultimately believe that it’s nothing to worry about. His dad decides to leave Teddy alone until his mom gets home thinking no one will be the wiser. Unfortunately, Teddy doesn’t understand the concept of a secret and why would he when his dad doesn’t take responsibility for what he’s done. Teddy innocently starts a sequence of traumatic events that leaves him in a very dark place.
“Teddy closed his eyes and listened for the shadow. It was faint, but he could hear it say, You noticed me.”
Newlin does an extraordinary job writing her characters as I felt I was genuinely reading from Teddy’s perspective. The sudden change in point of view to a police procedural was a welcome surprise. Not only do we get a tremendous amount of character development for Teddy, but also for Officer Strode, who is consulting on a couple of murder cases. The story seamlessly takes us from Teddy’s origin story to a police investigation, and Newlin smoothly introduces a horror aspect, known as the Shadow. The Shadow is a scary, creepy figure who enters Teddy’s life in a very profound way.
Take Your Turn, Teddy is a coming of age tale, yes, but it is much more than that. Newlin adeptly writes about trauma, domestic violence, mental health, isolation, fear, and sadness. I don’t know how she does it, but she manages to explore all of these heavy emotions, but in a subtle yet powerful way. It’s psychological horror, police procedural, and thriller all rolled up into a neat little package of a book.
Please tell me you plan to read this. I need to chat with all of you about this enthralling story.
Happy Monday y’all! See you next week!
Janelle Janson @ She Reads with Cats