Arc Review: The Tragedy of Dane Riley by Kat Spears

Title: The Tragedy of Dane Riley
Author: Kat Spears
Genre: YA Contemporary / Retelling/ Mental Health
Publication Date: June 22nd, 2021
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Rating: ⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!

“Dane Riley’s grasp on reality is slipping, and he’s not sure that he cares. While his mother has moved on after his father’s death, Dane desperately misses the man who made Dane feel okay to be himself. He can’t stand his mother’s boyfriend, or the boyfriend’s son, whose favorite pastime is tormenting Dane. Then there’s the girl next door: Dane can’t quite define their relationship, and he doesn’t know if he’s got the courage to leave the friend zone.

An emotional novel about mental health, and dealing with grief and growing up, The Tragedy of Dane Riley is the story of a teenager looking to make sense of his feelings in the wake of tragedy, and finding the strength he needs to make life worth living.” (Goodreads)

As someone who enjoys Shakespeare I was looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of this book. Hamlet is also one of my favorite plays too. When it came to a retelling standpoint, I liked where the author went with it. It’s always interesting to see how someone takes something old and makes it new, especially when it comes to the contemporary genre. My issue lies with the characters and why this book ended up being okay for me.

Dane is dealing with grief when it comes to the loss of his father. It’s understandable why he made the choices he made. Even though I understand that teens smoke, whether its vaping/smoking or weed, it’s just not something I could or can relate to. I never did those things as a teen and I’m just not a fan of seeing teens in books doing those things or even drinking. He also looked at all of the flaws of Eric but it didn’t seem like he noticed his own. Since the point-of-view comes from a male there were things talked about that also weren’t relatable.

I did like the plot does start with the rocky relationship he has with his mother. It shows how grief is dealt with differently depending on the person. There is a happy ending between them so that was nice to see.

Overall, this was okay but ultimately not a book for me and that most likely has to do with my age.

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