by Caleb Roehrig
Published on April 24, 2018 by Feiwel & Friends
Genres: LGBTQ+, Mystery, Young Adult
Rufus Holt is having the worst night of his life. It begins with the reappearance of his ex-boyfriend, Sebastian—the guy who stomped his heart out like a spent cigarette. Just as Rufus is getting ready to move on, Sebastian turns up out of the blue, saying they need to "talk." Things couldn’t get much worse, right?
But then Rufus gets a call from his sister April, begging for help. And then he and Sebastian find her, drenched in blood and holding a knife, beside the dead body of her boyfriend, Fox Whitney.
April swears she didn’t kill Fox—but Rufus knows her too well to believe she’s telling him the whole truth. April has something he needs, though, and her price is his help. Now, with no one to trust but the boy he wants to hate yet can’t stop loving, Rufus has one night to prove his sister’s innocence…or die trying.
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White Rabbit missed the mark for me. Not partially missed, but leaped right over. And it’s my fault, to some degree. Young adult? Cool. LGBTQA+ rep? Awesome! Thriller?
I’m just not a huge fan of the genre, but I’ve heard so many good things about Roehrig’s Last Seen Leaving and this book was hyped by some of my close friends so I wanted to give it a go. The result felt much like reading two novels at once. I often flip back and forth between young adult and adult fiction (especially with romances) and I got the same sense here.
We get two stories here, a mystery and a romance. I wouldn’t call one a subplot to the other because both were prominent throughout. Some of the character dynamic for the relationships worked. I liked both Rufus and Sebastian working together, but at the same time was bothered by the fact that the portrayal of their relationship was somewhat one-sided and a bit toxic. I’m not a fan of the idea that you must have a significant other to be “whole” and it felt like Rufus was pining over Sebastian who didn’t really care so the whole dynamic there was. . . off.
Added to the up-and-down vibe I got from the relationship, the book flew by and not in the I-must-read-this-in-one-sitting way. In its entirety, White Rabbit spans about 12 hours. That’s a lot of pages for a short amount of time. We get some flashbacks and bounce around a bit, and the overall effect is a rushed, choppy story. Certain aspects didn’t read as fully realistic either so I was often thrown out of the story and opted to put the book aside.
This book is great for the sexuality rep but ultimately wasn’t the book for me.