Sunday, March 24, 2013

You Know What You Have to Do by Bonnie Shimko

You Know What You Have to Do

You Know What You Have to Do by Bonnie Shimko

3 stars

Mary-Magdalene Feigenbaum refuses to be known as anything else but Maggie. Maggie starts to hear a voice inside of her head telling her to kill people when she feels like someone is being cruel or unfair. The voice tells her, “You know what you have to do” and gives her ways to kill people. Maggie doesn’t want to kill people but the voice and the headaches are too much for her to fight. The books description is really misleading and I feel like my description sums up the whole entire book. The book was Maggie complains, kills, therapy session, and then repeats with a little bit of extra drama thrown in here and there. This novel is definitely quirky, but not in the good-you-dress-or-listen-to-different-music quirky. This is the I’ll-kill-you-because-you-pushed-someone-down quirky. This book isn’t enthralling but it is entertaining.

The main female character is Maggie. Maggie is said to funny and feisty in the summary. Maggie is just a really cruel person. She’s a straight-up bitch. I don’t like saying that about characters, but I had no sympathy for Maggie when it came to her situation. As the novel went on I found myself disliking her more and more. By the end of the novel I despised her and thought she was really cruel. I got tired of her complaining about her mother and even when she learned more about why she does the things she does, she was still cruel to her. Maggie has a whole lot more problems than voices in her head. She needed that insane asylum, but she didn’t need it for what they were putting her in for. Maggie’s point of view is one the best when it comes to being a pathological liar. Maggie lies about everything to everyone. She’s also really mean to her supposed friends and I don’t get why she treats people so badly. I would think she would want people around, but by the end of the novel she had hardly anybody left.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 2

The main male character is… I’m not really sure. There was a love interest, but I’ve forgotten his name. We’ll call him Jerk-Face. Jerk-Face is the epitome of jerkiness. He goes through girls like tissues and has great pick up lines and pretends to like people. I could care less about Jerk-Face. The real guy that I liked was Lester. I hated how cruel Maggie was to him. They had been close growing up and he was a nice kid. He was really creepy though, but I think that Maggie shouldn’t have been so cruel towards him because in all honesty he was probably her only real friend for a long time.

Swoon Worthy Scale: These boys are all irrelevant and weird. I don’t like any of them or the swoons coming. I feel like getting a rape whistle and running. Jerk-Face: 1 Lester: 1

The Villain- The voice in Maggie’s head is the villain, but I feel like the voice was never really justified. She briefly said what she thought the voice was coming from and then brushed it aside. This voice also went away while she was locked up and came back the minute she was about to go home. This made absolutely no sense to me because I’m pretty sure that Maggie’s case of schizophrenia doesn’t work like that.

Villain Scale: Insanely Flawed- 3

My favorite character out of the whole novel was Harry, Maggie’s step-father. Harry was probably the only character in the whole entire novel that I liked or sympathized when something bad happened to them. Harry was a pretty well-developed side character. He had depth and a story. Harry made a lot of the story enjoyable for me. Abigail, Maggie’s best friend, is probably one of the worst friends I’ve read about in YA. I’ve come across quite a few of them, but Abigail makes the list. She seemed like a genuine friend to Maggie and I liked her at first and then Jerk-Face enters and it’s all downhill from there. Abigail abandons Maggie and then goes back to her when she needs help and tries to go back to her again when she loses her knew friends and boyfriend. I kind of felt bad for Abigail though. She was a terrible friend, but I don’t feel like Maggie should’ve left things the way she did. I think she should’ve talked to Abigail faced to face, but then again she probably only would’ve stabbed her with some weird object. Maggie’s mom is not the best mom, but Maggie is cruel to her mom. She calls her a slut and doesn’t give her any credit. I was happy when Maggie went to see her father in prison and he told her the person that her mom really was. I thought it would change Maggie’s views, but she would prefer to deny the truth. I thought Maggie’s counselor… he was a good counselor, but Maggie made everything awkward. She’s crazy and obsesses over this guy and takes an elephant out of his office. Who does that?! It’s just so weird. I liked the guy, until Maggie started making it all weird with her awkward thoughts of them being together.

Character Scale: 5
This book isn’t bad, but it is flawed and could’ve been better. My expectations were some crazy Criminal Minds-esque episode about a teenage serial killer. In a way I got that, but I was also disappointed by it. Shimko has potential, but that isn’t always a good thing. My band director comes in to watch our rehearsals sometimes and he told our advanced team that he had potential. He said that potential is a terrible thing to have though because either you can be really good and embrace it, be OK, or be a failure at. Shimko had potential with this novel, but it just came out OK. I will give her a try though, because I did enjoy her writing, but the characters and plot holes lessened my enjoyment. I feel like I got absolutely no answers and that ending was just abrupt and a letdown.

Cover Thoughts: It’s creepy. She looks crazy and it fits, but why do her eyes look kind of red? The cover isn't bad, but I don't really like it.

ARC kindly provided by Netgalley and Amazon Children’s Publishing in exchange for an honest review.



  1. I think I am going to read this one. I am tired of goody goody main characters :-)
    I want to read someone cruel and mean for once!

    1. I hope you enjoy, Lectus! It comes out on the 26th! Hopefully you'll enjoy it.