A book about the murderous teenage daughters of a convicted serial killer is not the type of stuff you’ll typically find in literature, especially Young Adult literature. Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves is a notable exception. And what makes this disturbing and bizarre book work is that it’s extremely well-written, well plotted and thoughtfully imagined.
Slice of Cherry follows Kit and Fancy Cordelle (aged 17 and 15, respectively), who are the daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer. And while the girls aren’t exactly like their father, they do have certain murderous tendencies and get the occassional kick out of slicing and dicing their victims. But unlike dear old dad (who’s awaiting a death sentence in prison), the girls know they can’t get caught. So when Fancy opens a magical door to another world, they’ve found the perfect place to stash the evidence — and the bodies. Of course, murder is never that simple — especially in a small town that has an odd sense of appreciation for the girls’ good intentions.
There’s no doubt about it: Slice of Cherry is a twisted, sometimes disturbing book. But it’s also one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Reeves is an extremely gifted writer, and it’s evident in every word and plot twist. Despite the shock value of much of the book’s content, it’s clear that Reeves includes all of these moments for a reason. Each moment is deliberate and purposeful.
As main characters, Kit and Fancy are well-matched with the Turner boys, Gabriel and Ilan. It’s fascinating to watch their interactions and changes throughout the novel, all building to the climax and final pages. The characters are all maladjusted and not quite right — but Slice of Cherry isn’t a journey about these characters becoming normal. Rather, it’s about them each accepting their own (and each others’) strangeness and personality quirks. Which, though told in a strange and twisted way, is actually a very nice, healthy message for teens to learn.
That said, I’m not sure Slice of Cherry is the best material for a general teen audience. There’s a lot of murder and gore and violence, much of it told very casually. But for older teens (and adults), the book offers a fascinating story to get sucked into. Reeves has created a magical world in the fictional east Texas town of Portero — where the people watch out for their own, and monsters burst forth from beneath the pavement, and doors can be found in the most unlikely places. And that’s really what makes Slice of Cherry work so well. Because Kit and Fancy wouldn’t fit in just anywhere; it’s in Portero that they can thrive and be themselves. Even if “being themselves” means committing the occasional, well-intentioned murder.
Slice of Cherry is in stores now.