Are you a fan of suspense, thrills, and twists? Of novels that heighten your apprehension, that provoke strong emotion, and that overall are exceedingly fun to read? Of riveting stories that involve crime and teenagers racing against the clock to solve a compelling mystery? If so, Caleb Roehrig’s White Rabbit is just the book for you!
Roehrig’s White Rabbit throws you into the world of Rufus Holt, and it seems that the world has it out for poor Rufus. On top of being a societal outcast for being gay and struggling with anger issues, as well as having a biological father that would sooner inflict torment and grief than support and love to Rufus’ life, his ex-boyfriend Sebastian – who had mercilessly dumped him weeks prior – suddenly reappears in his life, and his mother confesses that they’re in danger of losing their home. If all of that wasn’t horrible enough, Rufus’ sister April gives him a call, pleading for his help, and he arrives at her location only to discover her holding a bloody butcher knife and sitting beside the mutilated corpse of her boyfriend, Fox Whitney.
There is quite a lot to take in within this story, isn’t there?
Overall, I thought that White Rabbit was an exciting, thought-provoking, and thrilling story of Rufus and Sebastian as they embarked on a steadily dangerous quest to uncover who the killer was and to do it in one night, all the while trying to avoid getting killed themselves.
I did experience some conflicting thoughts during the process of reading, mostly in relation to the novel’s beginning. Roehrig does not commence his novel with any sort of buildup to the main event. Rather, White Rabbit abruptly begins with that very phone call from April that thrusts Rufus and Sebastian into the crime they’re about to spending the night trying to solve. While the concept of White Rabbit really caught my eye, I was completely thrown off and unprepared for the abrupt beginning, and thought that it would have served the novel better to have at least a tiny exposition before I got flung straight into the drama.
We do catch italicized moments of flashbacks to Rufus’ life before the events of the story’s current timeline to refer back to, and they assist in marginally improving the development of the characters and the stories behind them. Most of these flashbacks focus on Rufus’ relationship – and eventual breakup – with Sebastian, who not only spends the night helping Rufus solve the mystery behind the murder, but uses this time as an attempt to speak to him about the circumstances surrounding their breakup.
Along with the harrowing tale of murder and mystery, Rufus and Sebastian’s relationship was one of the novel’s highlights, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about it. Roehrig did a great job giving life to their interactions within the text: the tension that comes with having two ex-boyfriends interact with one another, the raging emotional conflict that Rufus deals with regarding Sebastian’s presence, the anger, the hurt, and the eventual reconciliation were all fantastic to experience. While the murder of Fox Whitney and the circumstances surrounding it are the main focuses of this novel, White Rabbit also tells a great love story between Rufus and Sebastian as they struggle to reignite their relationship and keep it, along with themselves, alive.
White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig is now available wherever books are sold.