Leah Greenblatt
May 26, 2017 AT 01:46 PM EDT

Do Not Be Alarmed

type
Book
publisher
Riverhead Books
pages
350
publication date
06/06/17
author
Maile Meloy

We gave it a B+

What could be more ordinary, more American, more intrinsically, all-inclusively safe than the coddled luxury of a cruise ship? Almost anything, several families learn too late in Meloy’s taut, nervy thriller.

Thirtysomething cousins Liv and Nora—both the kind of conscientious L.A. moms who worry about carbon offsets and never forget to pack sunscreen— choose a holiday cruise to Latin America to bring their husbands and kids together and help Liv recover from her own mother’s recent death. But when a shore excursion goes awry, the children, along with the son and daughter of an Argentinean couple they hardly know, vanish.

Because Meloy (Liars and Saints, the YA Apothecary series) follows every character, it’s not a mystery where they’ve gone, though knowing hardly alleviates the tension. Alarmed’s sensational plot turns sometimes veer toward the innocents-in-peril machinations of a Lifetime movie, but Meloy has a keenly intuitive ear for family dynamics, first-world privilege, and all the ways that human nature can adapt to the unthinkable. B+

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