New York Times bestselling author Nancy Werlin returns to YA suspense with this page-turner mystery for fans of Lauren Oliver, Neal Shusterman, and Lois Duncan
Let’s not die today. Not even to make things easier for our parents.
When a building collapses around five teenagers—and they just barely escape—they know something strange is going on. Little by little, the group pieces together a theory: Their parents are working together to kill them all. Is it true? And if so, how did their parents come together—and why? And, most importantly, how can the five of them work together to save themselves? With an unlikely group of heroes, sky-high stakes, and two budding romances, this gripping murder mystery will keep readers guessing until the last page.
About the Author
Nancy Werlin is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of The Killer’s Cousin, Rules of Survival, Black Mirror, Impossible, and a host of other young adult novels. She lives in Massachusetts.
Read an Excerpt
Chapter 1: Caleb
It is your new nightly ritual, as automatic as showering or brushing your teeth or thinking about her. You feed innocent paper into the teeth of the shredder. Then you put the scraps on the floor.
Whatever it is.
The paper shreds have never been disturbed yet, not once, which is surprising and interesting. You’re uncertain what to make of this.
One thing is true. You are not a little boy anymore. You are seventeen, and you don’t believe in Mommy keeping you safe or in friends having your back or in anybody, including you, understanding the difference between good and evil.
You do, however, believe in the indifference of humanity and the absolute inevitability of your own destruction.
You never asked to be what you are. Why you? At this point, you rarely bother to ask that question. Why is a child’s question, and there’s never a good answer, not from him, not for you.
Because. That’s the answer. His answer, and now also yours.
Because you are a monster.
Because you are too damn fucking tired.
One day soon, maybe tomorrow, you will stop fighting. You will go down. You will be done.
For tonight, though, you shape the hand and cane again, working the confetti to represent her small, determined fingers. You haven’t bothered to learn her name, and you don’t plan to. She’s nothing to do with you.
But her world is a good place, you felt sure of that from the first time you saw her. You’re glad for her, that she lives there and not where you do.
She’s alive in the world. It is enough for you.
Excerpted from "And Then There Were Four"
Copyright © 2018 Nancy Werlin.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have to agree, this was indeed a page turner. It started off with a bang and it was one event after another until our four characters started putting the pieces together. It got really thrilling at certain moments of the book and even you are left wondering what the heck is going on and you’re feeling just as lost and confused as the characters. The plot itself in general was all right. Be prepared for some predictable scenes. It didn’t bother me as much as it was expected but there were plenty of moments in the book where you were blindsided with surprise which makes up for some of the predictability. The characters were well done and complimented each other as a group despite each one having their differences. The narration done throughout the novel is by Caleb and Saralinda. Both characters are likable to an extent. I prefer reading Caleb’s side of the story instead of Saralinda only because she got annoying towards the second half of the novel. I thought she was trying too hard to be the happy nerdy girl with the forceful jokes. (You certainly CANNOT be thinking of first kisses and romance while you have the police and your murderous parents after you...seriously now?) The read was all right. Some thrilling moments here and there and an ending that’s enough to close the story. Would I recommend this? Not really. I’d say more along the lines of: take it or leave it.
The brief synopsis of the plot on the front cover is what ultimately made me purchase this book. I love suspense and this book didn't disappoint. I don't often read books that involve a POV told from in second person, but Caleb's character made it work. I was constantly wondering what was going to happen next and that is why I completed this book much quicker than others. It's full of shocking reveals that left me wanting more. Definitely a good read.
And Then There Were Four begins with a murder attempt, and that pretty much sets the tone for the book. The plot is that these teens are being targeted by their own parents (various reasons for each) - which, in my opinion need not have been given away by the blurb, but oh well! The four surviving teens band together to figure out the why and how of the attempt on their lives, and how they can protect themselves against further attacks. We are given two POV in a diverse set of characters, Saralinda and Caleb, with the former in first person narrative and the latter in second person narrative. Firstly, I want to say that the plot is certainly intriguing and in the first half of the book, with so much unknown variables, the stakes were high. But as the book progressed, it felt like the tension seeped out of the text and was shifting focus towards romance (why would you have romance in the middle of running for your lives?) and moving towards a climax that kind of plateaued out. There is mystery, sure, and figuring out the motives of the parents was enough to keep you hanging in there, but I place the blame of my not enjoying it fully on the way it is written. Saralinda's first person POV comes across more like a preteen writing in her diary with a lot! of! emphasis! on the mundane. She comes across as extremely childish which I can partly understand due to her closeted life, but cannot condone when in the other POV she sounds pretty mature and holds her own. Of course, the other POV belongs to Caleb, who likes her, so maybe that changes how she is presented. His POV was strange to read through, mainly because it is in second person, which is quite rare enough in most YA books that it is unnerving at first. Coupled with that, his (possible) mental illness at first felt the reason for the odd second person narrative but then in the other POV he talks so much like a single person that it made no sense to have his narrative in second person. Still, between the two, the secondary characters Kenyon and Evangeline are fleshed out enough to have their own arcs. As for diversity, with the exception of Kenyon, all characters are POC, and with Saralinda's disability and Evan's bi(or pan)sexuality, it is inter-sectional. On that aspect, I felt the rep was good. But as for the mental illness, which actually is the backbone of the plot, I felt the rep was calling upon too frequently used stereotypes - like Dissociate Identity Disorders patients having sociopathic tendencies or an 'evil' alter (which is what Caleb believes). Also, considering that there is manipulation thrown into the mix, it would have been good to have at least one positive rep for mental illness. Finally, I would like to say I was conflicted about what to rate this book as. From a plot and diversity perspective, it checks the boxes. But the writing doesn't lend to an enjoyable reading experience (which I qualify as higher priority) so I brought it down to a 3.5 star rating.
There’s a reason I don’t tend to read thrillers, suspense, anything like that. I struggle to connect with the stories, to really get into them. But I’ve been expanding on what I read more and wanted to give And Then There Were Four a try. The premise was a bit… well, shocking, really, which I suppose was part of the appeal. To see how the author handled it. So, perhaps this book is an excellent example of a YA thriller. I’m not really sure. Not a good judge of that. But it definitely disturbed me. Imagine thinking that your parents are trying to kill you and then realizing it’s true. Werlin showed this potential nightmare-waiting-to-happen through the eyes of two of the five students. Caleb speaks in second person and believes he’s a monster. Is he truly? That’s for you to decide while reading but the truth was seriously messed up. The other narrator, Saralinda, is very different in how she describes the world around her (first person this time around). They alternate back and forth with varying chapter lengths to keep you on the edge of what might happen and in the dark about the truth. Of the five students (Caleb, Saralinda, Evangeline, Antoine, and Kenyon), I think I liked Kenyon the most. She was down to earth and took everything in stride, but had her flaws. I kind of wish we could have gotten her perspective as well as Evangeline’s in the story since I think they would have really added something. Though I wasn’t a fan of their romance because it felt really forced and just thrown in to make a few scenes more dramatic. Saralinda drove me CRAZY with the rambling sentences and her general personality. Reading her chapters was far less interesting for me than Caleb’s, but I wasn’t really sure I understood why they were written in 2nd PoV because I didn’t feel like it added all that much. As for the story… okay, I’ll be honest. I’m not a teen anymore but it wasn’t all THAT long ago since I was (like seriously, it’s only been a few years). And this book, it’s young adult. Written for teens. I don’t think I could read this book as a teen. I’m not sure I could really recommend this book to teens. Is that wrong? Weird? Like, maybe the book did too good a job but even though the idea of parents wanting to kill their children because they’re burdens in one way or another (for some it’s health reasons, personalities, past actions, and so on) is a bit far-fetched…it’s kind of scary to think about. As a teen, I would honestly question if I was a burden to my parents after reading this. That’s just not a good feeling. In that same vein, Werlin is an excellent writer and the book moves at a quick pace that kept the tension high even though I set it down a few times. So maybe this is a fabulous thriller for making me reluctant to recommend it, maybe I’m crazy, and maybe I need to stop reading suspenseful books before bed….
I am 100% here for twisty and maybe murdery parents and this one didn't disappoint. I really liked this group of characters. They're all unique and they mesh well together. We get two POVs in the story and I struggled with both of them. One POV is quite rambling and full! of! exclamation! points! The other is told is second person. The switch between them did make the flow a bit bumpy, but eventually I settled into it. Plot wise, it was intriguing from the very start. There were a few things I wasn't expecting and it really kept me guessing. Overall, it was a slightly creepy story that was fast paced and captivating. And yes, I'm being vague about everything on purpose because spoilers. **Huge thanks to Dial Books for providing the arc free of charge**