I picked up this book because a lovely friend of mine said she had mixed opinions on it and I wanted to see if I could come up with a more definitive thought on the novel to share with her. Plus, I loved the colour of the cover.
‘Dead Ends’ is told from a bully’s perspective, though like many bullies, he doesn’t realise what he’s doing is wrong until someone else, in this case a kid with Down’s Syndrome, Billy, points it out. Dane, the bully, is roped into helping Billy around school and their on-off friendship leads to trouble, mayhem and more trouble as both boys try and find their lost fathers.
It was definitely interesting to read a novel told from a troubled perspective. It was a different dynamic that I’m not entirely sure I enjoyed. Dane didn’t seem very anxious about the repercussions of his actions, whereas I’m sure Voldemort might have felt at least some inner turmoil.
The relationship that grew between Dane and Billy was a Marmite relationship – they either liked each other or they didn’t. Dane had a few double standards when it came to Billy – he didn’t like other people treating him differently because of his appearance yet would distance himself from Billy’s company by not wanting to call him a friend. As the novel progressed, I’m sure his outlook changed but it annoyed me that Dane wasn’t completely accepting of Billy like he wanted others to be.
Slightly ‘Paper Towns’-esque when the boys were trying to figure out a trail of clues left for Billy by his dad on how to find him. That was slightly interesting, but not enough to make me turn the pages any faster.
Billy had his own double standards when it came to honesty, though I won’t go into that but it made me feel as angry as Dane at the injustice of his outbursts, which were valid but not at all fair.
The plot progressed nicely, with new things being weaved into the story at semi-regular intervals that helped me to keep reading. My favourite character was probably the love interest, Seely, but it seemed she was only written in for convenience and didn’t hold a bigger purpose other than ‘the girl with the computer’.
Still, it would be wrong to say I didn’t enjoy parts of the novel, though it didn’t contain anything that wowed me. My rating would therefore be: 2.6 stars because I felt, in the end, I was just reading it to finish it, not to love it.