Imagine combining the slasher qualities of 90’s movies like Scream seamlessly with the warm haziness of unrequited love from an 80’s John Hughes flick and a road trip so surreal it would give Hunter S. Thompson a run for his money. This is the magic of White Rabbit. Caleb Roehrig’s second YA book is another foray into mystery, but that’s where the comparisons ends with this sophomore book. Mischievous, sarcastic and a totally wild ride, find out all the reasons you should be picking up White Rabbit when it releases next month.
ABOUT THE BOOK
White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig
Rufus Holt is having the worst night of his life. It begins with the reappearance of his ex-boyfriend, Sebastian—the guy who stomped his heart out like a spent cigarette. Just as Rufus is getting ready to move on, Sebastian turns up out of the blue, saying they need to “talk.” Things couldn’t get much worse, right?
But then Rufus gets a call from his sister April, begging for help. And then he and Sebastian find her, drenched in blood and holding a knife, beside the dead body of her boyfriend, Fox Whitney.
April swears she didn’t kill Fox—but Rufus knows her too well to believe she’s telling him the whole truth. April has something he needs, though, and her price is his help. Now, with no one to trust but the boy he wants to hate yet can’t stop loving, Rufus has one night to prove his sister’s innocence…or die trying.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I am going to put this thought out there: I’m terrible at moodboards, but I’ll make one for Caleb any day of the week.
Overall: Rufus just wants to enjoy a party, and, maybe, flex his new abs a bit, but his ex-boyfriend shows up wanting to talk to him and totally ruins his party vibe in milliseconds. Combine that with his estranged half-sister’s call that she needs help WITH A MURDER, a cast of characters that have bullied and tormented Rufus his entire life, and you have the beginnings of sleuthy, emo examination of friendship, family and love, all told through the dimmed dashboard headlights of your secret ex-boyfriend’s Jeep.
The tangential thing that Caleb does is that he manages to make the greatest drama of Rufus’s Friday night NOT the dead body, the ensuing race to catch a killer, but Sebastian. Sure, they are trying to figure out a mystery and trying to stay one step ahead of an unknown killer on the loose (could they be in the car with them??), but the care with which Caleb addresses Rufus’s heartbreak can not be underscored. This is the line delicately towed by Caleb in the unique unfolding mystery that is White Rabbit. In the midst of all the murder and school drama that surrounds this night, at the heart of this novel, Rufus is stuck in a car with his ex that basically ghosted him driving him around. All his heartache and their history rises up as they circle around town attempting to make sense of the mystery and while you’re cued into the mystery, you’re wondering how the mystery of Rufus and Sebastian will unfold. It’s gentle and beautiful and keep me turning pages long after midnight.
Judge a Book by its Cover: Caleb’s books have an AESTHETIC–creepy, dark forests, blue. OF COURSE I will always pick them up!
Me Talk Pretty: Caleb’s prose is imaginative, as it is biting sarcastic, angsty, and full of witty references to musicals and Gaga. It’s how he captures Rufus’s voice that makes this book such a joy to read amid the terror and the chaos. Below are some quotes to demonstrate why. Keep in mind that I was generously provided an ARC of White Rabbit by MacMillan, so the following quotes may not be final.
He’s so good-looking it still takes my breath away, event when I’m wishing I’d never known him.
All the while, resentment gradually consumed by gut like some kind of mold.
Small town. Rumors got nowhere to go but everywhere.
I’m dimly aware that I’m only making everything worse; but the only two things I’m actually any good at are losing control and screwing up my life by antagonizing powerful adults–I’m finally in my milieu.
A sliver of resentment is lodged in my heart that I can’t seem to ignore, no matter how hard I try, and it keeps calling my attention to two little molehills that cry out to be built into mountains.
Body Count: …
Don’t Believe the Hype: There is no sophomore slump here. Not even a hint of one.
Open tab/Last call: If you haven’t seen Caleb’s Instagram feed, then I will point you there first so you can ogle his photos from his travels. Then, I’ll say this: Caleb, I want to meet you in the most unique bar you’ve ever been to and have the tallest cocktail ever to discuss all the spoilers for your upcoming novel, Death Prefers Blondes, your beauty regimen and maybe throw in some griping shade at the current administration.
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