Title: The Tragedy of Dane Riley
Author: Kat Spears
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication date: June 22nd, 2021
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.
TW: discussions of death, suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, physical violence, attempted sexual violence, mental illness
The Tragedy of Dane Riley centers on Dane, an 18 year old senior in high school whose father recently died of cancer. Dane has been struggling with the loss and his mother’s reaction to it – to immediately begin dating his father’s best friend and business partner. Mom and son don’t see eye to eye throughout the story, which is a look at Dane’s journey through coping with his grief and trying to survive high school.
The triggers in this book are endless, which is why so many are listed. This book is very deep and philosophical, but Dane spends a lot of time in his head thinking about the above topics in detail – so I want to ensure everyone is prepared going into this book with the subject matter. Overall, I found myself relating to Dane so deeply. Throughout the book he had me cheering him on, shaking my head, and often commiserating with him. There is general teenage angst, including a touch of romance – but the story is really centered on Dane learning better coping skills.
The ending left me unsatisfied, but that’s all I will say about that. Even with relating to Dane, I found many parts hard to read given his intense feelings that I myself have experience with. It was almost like reading my own feelings on paper, which was disconcerting at times.
Again, be mindful going into this book with the subject matter, but I think the journey is important to read.
Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.
Happy reading, folks!