Foul whisp’rings are abroad. Unnatural Deeds
Do breed unnatural troubles. Infected minds
To their dead pillows will discharge their secrets.
– Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Act V, Scene I
When a story starts with a quote from Macbeth, consider my attention grabbed. When it’s followed by the news story of an apparent homicide, I’m sold. And that’s how Cyn Balog begins Unnatural Deeds. What follows is a unique and all-consuming story that, even though it made me sob, made me fall completely in love with this book.
This was a very timely read for me, as my daughter is currently reading Macbeth for school and the characters in this story are putting on a play of Macbeth. So what started as a solo read quickly turned into a buddy read, and I loved sharing this wonderful book with her. I think she fell even more in love with it than I did.
To talk about the actual story will be difficult because it’s important not to give away a single thing. This is the kind of book that makes you think it’s one thing but that you quickly realize has cleverly disguised itself… because it is something entirely different. What may seem like a typical high school insta-love scenario is anything but. Once I began to suspect what was going on, I was a goner. I read this in one sitting, and it is a fast read but thrilling story. The characters are flawed, unreliable, and fascinating. While I may have pegged the twists, it certainly didn’t take anything away from the story. Brilliant. Reservations about certain characters and their actions are fully comprehensible given certain revelations.
Cyn Balog has always been an author whose work I love, but I believe this is my favorite. I can’t give her credit for the perfect timing of reading Macbeth alongside it… or can I? She very well may be the wizard I believe she is ;)
It's not uncommon for my mom to read a book and tell me, "You have to read this." However, it's not very often that she grabs me by the arm, pulls me down to sit beside her, puts the book in my hands, and says, "Read. NOW." This was one of those times, and Unnatural Deeds was one of those books.
Our MC Victoria hasn't had the easiest high school experience; she suffers from severe anxiety and is a complete outcast at the private school she attends. The only person she can truly call friend is her next-door neighbor-turned-boyfriend Andrew, who she's known since they were kids. Andrew is the love of her life; she tells him everything. So of course she tells him about the bold, mysterious new kid at school. Andrew seems instantly wary of Z, though Victoria's not sure why. Z has been nothing but nice to her. He may have convinced her to cut class to get breakfast with him, and he's a little different, sure – I mean, how many kids can charm a ruthless teacher into overlooking gum and texting in class? – but he's nice nonetheless. Maybe it's because, aside from Andrew and her parents, no one's really paid this kind of attention to Victoria before now. Or maybe Z is just the kind of guy you can't help but be drawn to. But she wants to get to know Z better. No matter what kind of trouble it might be getting her into.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg with this story. Unnatural Deeds is unlike any other book I've read before. It may seem like nothing more than teen drama and a mysterious new guy, but trust me when I say it goes much, much deeper. This is such an intricate, brilliant plot that I won't risk any spoilers by telling more. But I will borrow my mom's strategy and implore you to read it now.
Unnatural Deeds is a dark, fascinating story with twists that will leave you thinking long after you turn the last page. This was my first Balog book, and this author's writing is phenomenal; I can't wait to read more of her work.
A huge thank-you to the publisher for providing us with a copy of this book in exchange for our honest review.