The Other Side of Dark - Joan Lowery Nixon
This book was painful to read. And I don't say that about many books.

I admit it probably deserves a 2 star rating, but I couldn't bring myself to give it to it because it was so disappointing. You see, I came to this book expecting a heartwarming story about a girl gradually assimilating herself into society again and learning to cope with what happened to her. (Which I admit was my fault, as I didn't do any research on Nixon and didn't know she wrote mysteries.)

This was a mystery, and a bad one at that. Her assimilation back into society was glossed over, and, in the parts it wasn't, it was badly written. She seems to swing from about to burst into tears to in a murderous rage over her mother's murder to perfectly fine. It's really jarring. The characters and the dialogue was so unrealistic that the book was almost confusing. I kept thinking I was missing something that would make the characters seem human, but I wasn't.

The ending was overly simplistic for a murder mystery. I will admit I was wrong about who I thought was the murderer, but only because I was certain it wasn't the really obvious one. (Spoiler: It is.) I thought it was a character who's possible involvement was a lot more subtle. I'm not sure if that red herring was intentional or not.

The romance also felt weird and forced.

And, finally, the last line topped it all in what is probably the cheesiest line I have ever read, especially since it's the last line of the book.

I only made myself finish it because it was on the Battle of the Books list, so I had to read it. I'm really disappointed that such a lousy book made it on the list, since normally all the books are really good.