Violent cautionary tale. If mom and grandma change their names, lie about where they're from, and tell you your dad is out of your life and under no circumstances will they provide any information about him, a normal person might take the hint there's a reason for it.
But 16 year old drama queen Mira decides she knows better, even if her boyfriend and best friend disagree with what she's doing. She knows her dad is really wonderful, based on some watercolorings she found (of course, no one who creates pretty pictures could be in any way sketchy?), and mom is just being mean keeping him away.
She tracks him down and calls him, then they share a few emails. Within a few days a series of sinister events take place around their house. But daddy couldn't be responsible, because Mira lives in Salt Lake City and he's in Dallas, isn't he?
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It was surprising how violent this was for a YA novel. Daddy Dearest is a sick vicious SOB, a total sociopath. He broke Mira's arm when she was 2, then threatened to kill all 3 women if anyone reported it. That's when the 3 of them took off and went into hiding. Once Mira was stupid enough to tell him where to find them, he takes out 14 years of vengence on anyone/anything in his way. Among his acts of violence:
-- he kills their dog by wiring it's legs together, stabbing it, and then burying it in their garden with just her head sticking up out of the ground.
-- he pistol-whips Mira's boyfriend hard enough to fracture his skull.
-- he repeatedly stabs the older women, killing her grandmother while her mother barely survives.
-- he uses a puppy to get Mira and her friend alone, then throws it out the window and runs over it with his car.
-- he makes Mira handcuff and tape her friend before forcing her into the trunk of his car. He then leaves the car inside a garage when he swaps vehicles, without any food or water or any intention of letting anyone know where she was.
In other words, a total scumbag. Meanwhile, Mira gets to live with the guilt of her grandmother's murder and mom's near death. She also loses her boyfriend; he tried on multiple occasions to talk her out of what she was doing, but she did it anyway, including sneaking off to meet dad without him. So for his troubles he wound up hospitalized with a skull fracture. They were friends for years, then started dating, now he makes it clear he's stepping back from their relationship. Nearly getting killed because of your girlfriend's stupidity will put a damper on how you feel about her...