Review: Rabbit Ears

Author: Maggie de Vries
Date of Publication: March 18 2014
Pages: 288
Source: library ebook

Kaya is adopted, multiracial, grieving the death of her father—and carrying a painful secret. Feeling ill at ease with her family and in her own skin, she runs away repeatedly, gradually disappearing into a life of addiction and sex work. Meanwhile, her sister, Beth, escapes her own troubles with food and a rediscovered talent for magic tricks. Though both girls struggle through darkness and pain, they eventually find their way to a moment of illumination and healing.

This powerful YA novel is rooted in the tragic life of the author’s sister, Sarah, a victim of serial killer Robert Pickton and the subject of Maggie de Vries’s Governor General’s Literary Award–nominated memoir for adults, Missing Sarah. Sarah’s tragic experiences inspired the character Kaya, as well as an adult sex worker she meets on the streets. Vancouver’s missing women form a chilling backdrop for the story.


I don't know how to review this book. I will make one thing clear: this book is a gem. It deals with issues all too relevant to YA readers.

I could tell you I cried, but that has happened before and will happen again. What makes Rabbit Ears so different is that the sadness isn't the cathartic type. I'm not going to cry, feel better, and move on with my life. This story is going to stick. And it hurts to read a story like this. It hurts so much because of all the suffering and the worst part was knowing that this happens. There are girls that deal with this and disappear.

I suppose you want a summary. Kaya and Beth are sisters. Kaya is the troubled sister and Beth is always trying to keep her from falling. Kaya has secrets though, and she is drawn to danger.

I didn't always like or not like any of the characters. There were times where I was so pissed off with their actions. I want to call the characters heartbreaking, but they were more real than that. They made me sad and they angered me and I loved them and gosh, I want to help them.

Obviously, the plot is good. The story is so engrossing and from the beginning I wanted to know why Kaya acted out. The story is satisfying because it has a strong ending, but also because there is an appropriate amount of detail. It takes place in Canada, in Vancouver, and I believe it to be a diverse story.

The author wrote this story for her missing sister, Sarah. It's obvious that this story is emotional from the start, and it's so very well written. The different writing styles capture all of the characters' mannerisms and essences.

Rabbit Ears is an important story to read. I don't know how much entertainment value it has, but it matters. It's the type of book that can change the way you view the world, and sometimes that's necessary.



What do you think?