Review: The Conjoined – Jen Sookfong Lee

2017:69
2.5 of 5 stars
Published 2016

Jessica’s mother has just died and she’s helping her father clear out the house. In one of the freezers in the basement, her father discovers a body and it turns out, there’s another body in the other freezer. Now there’s a shocker to start off a novel! Jessica’s mother, Donna,  took in foster children. There were two young teenage sisters that lived there for a short time in 1988 but who disappeared and these bodies appear to be those girls. What happened to them? Did Donna kill them and hide them all these years? Jessica finds it difficult to reconcile the mother she knew with that theory.

The novel looks back on the girls’ family history as well as Donna’s as Jessica digs down into the past to search out the truth. She ends up learning more about her mother and herself in the process.

I liked the book, though didn’t love it. Some of the flashback bits were told more than once, each with a bit more detail from a different point of view but I found that dragged a bit. It felt a bit unfocused at times. The ending really wasn’t quite as satisfying as I thought it would be, with the conclusion of the mystery left up to your imagination and assumption. There was no answer to how the teens were killed and the “why” might be assumed if you assume the identity of the one that did it. I did like the story in general and I liked the Vancouver setting.  It wasn’t that bad and it was a quick read but I felt let down a bit by the ending.

 

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