Book Review: Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy

Do Not Become Alarmed - Maile Meloy

Don’t let the gorgeous cover fool you…

Book Description:

The sun is shining, the sea is blue, the children have disappeared…

When Liv and Nora decide to take their husbands and children on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The ship’s comforts and possibilities seem infinite. But when they all go ashore in beautiful Central America, a series of minor mishaps lead the families further from the ship’s safety. One minute the children are there, and the next they’re gone.

What follows is a heart-racing story told from the perspectives of the adults and the children, as the distraught parents – now turning on one another and blaming themselves – try to recover their children and their shattered lives.

My Thoughts:

I’m afraid this won’t be a glowing review, Do Not Become Alarmed was not the book for me. The above blurb is accurate until it states: “what follows is a heart-racing story told….” – my heart did not race at all, in fact, I was worried it would flat-line, I think that clarifies my enjoyment levels for this read.

My issue wasn’t with the storyline as such, the kidnapping that occurred was believable. My issue was more the delivery – the theme didn’t come through at all, in what should have been a character-driven story that showcased how the parents acted in the aftermath of their children going missing, for me, it completely missed the mark. I’m sorry to say it all felt rather bland, no themes of maternal anxiety, no thrills, no emotion whatsoever.

It didn’t help that I did not like any of the main characters, I took a particular disliking to the parents, I didn’t feel any of their grief. Nora, in particular, appeared over-dramatic in her actions and it got to the point of annoyance. Everyone likes kids right, nope, not in this one, even the actions of the kids annoyed me, it just all felt forced. I felt like the character’s action were written to give this novel the thrill-factor rather than to craft believeable actions but it just didn’t happen. Of all the characters, I did like Oscar for the short time he was in the story, and that’s most likely because he wasn’t a main character so I was somewhat intrigued by his actions and how he coped with the situation he found himself in. But other than that, this novel gave me nothing!

I know I’m being harsh in my review but I have to be honest, I would not recommend this book. The pace was terribly slow, the parent’s grief seemed forced, for the majority of the novel it felt as if nothing was happening. I buddy read this book with Sam @ Clues and Reviews, I was several chapters ahead of her throughout the read and our conversation throughout went something like this:

Sam: Does it get better? // Me: Not really, I’m hoping for something to happen soon. // Sam: Does it get better? // Me: Nothing happening yet. // Sam: Does it get better? // Me: No // Sam: Should I skim read the rest? // Me: I think that would be for the best!

They say “no two people read the same book” so if you’ve got this one on your TBR, I hope you have better luck than me.

If you’re going to read this book regardless, it is available from: Amazon UK / Book Depository

*My thanks to Viking for providing me with a digital copy of this book via Netgalley*

14 thoughts on “Book Review: Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy

  1. Your review has reinforced that I made a good decision taking this off my tbr. I had read some reviews on goodreads describing the parents actions and behaviors and I didn’t think it sounded like a believable plot line and you’re review backs that up. I’m glad you shared why this didn’t work for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh wow… sorry this one didn’t work out at all… I wonder.. how is it possible to write grief in a way that won’t make the reader feel the feels? You know?
    Hmm… hope the next book you read rocks, though! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There is nothing worse than reading a book where you don’t like the characters. For the kids, I find that it’s hard for a lot of authors to write realistically from a child’s voice…sounds like it didn’t work here.

    Liked by 1 person

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