Hunted was written by Michigan local author, DJ DeSmyter, when he was 18 years old. It’s quite the accomplishment to be published so young. DeSmyter should be very proud of himself.
In DeSmyter’s debut novel we meet Lily, soft and quiet. Lily lives with her father in Victor Hills Michigan. Lily is a very lonely girl, isolated, invalidated. Lily has grown up very withdrawn and doesn’t value herself very highly. One day her father brings home a stranger, a young man named Alex whose just as poorly socialized as she is. Struggling with speech the two start-up a timid friendship that flowers into something greater, something more tender…until an outside threat begins to terrorize their fragile peace.
Hunted is a light, quick paced story about Lily, an average girl, and her above average love, Alex. Music and art enhances the tone of this book with a precise, subtle beauty. There are things that DeSmyter has done very well in this book, which smacks strongly with coming-of-age resonance. There’s a bittersweet sadness in watching Lily find herself in this book, come to terms with her individuality and her assertiveness as a young woman. Lily blossoms under Alex’s attentions, but the novel doesn’t read as a co-dependent trope. Instead the romance is sweet and alluring and very, very reassuring.
There are things that DeSmyter does wrong, however. His subject shifts sometimes happen mid-paragraph, making the transitions jerky and less smooth than I would have liked them to read. His adults are a little less believable than I would have liked them to be as well. I think this novel would have benefited greatly from some more/different editing. It’s not as polished as I believe it can be. There were also some plot opportunities that I thought DeSmyter passed up on that would have made the story a little snappier.
As a first novel, from a young writer, this is a great start. I think if DeSmyter continues to work, and to write, he will build upon this solid foundation with a vengeance. I look forward to seeing what comes from this author in the future.
4 out of 5 stars.
– Follow the Reader –