Review: Cane and Able by Jonathan Matos // The Deadly Sin of Envy

cane and ableSeries: Seven Deadly Sins #1

Publication: October 23rd 2016 (Self-published)

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Christian

Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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Dennis Caine knows what it’s like to be different. Born with a rare muscle disorder, he is no stranger to surgeries as he goes through his childhood. After a near-death experience during a scoliosis treatment surgery, Dennis’s life is changed and he strives to find purpose in his life. When Dennis reaches high school, his life seems to improve greatly as he retains his first female friend and dives more into chemistry in an ambition to discover a cure for his disorder. But as his life starts to take some bad turns with his newfound friend rejecting him and his increasing rivalry with Jason Bell, the star of the football team, Dennis’s chemistry interest starts to become an obsession. As unfortunate events continue to pile up in his life, the sweet purpose-driven Dennis descends into darker and darker thoughts causing him to act out in devastating ways—including the ultimate crime which changes his life forever. Told in multiple points of view with some interesting twists thrown in, Cane and Able is a well-written debut to Matos’s Seven Deadly Sins series.

With this being a somewhat historical fiction book with it taking place in the 90s, I enjoyed reading about how life was like for teenagers then and comparing it to my own experience in the mid-to-late 00s. When I first started reading this book, I had no idea that there were alternating points of view and I feel that it really added depth to the book. Each of the characters’ points of view had a unique voice which is always something I pay attention to because it is so common for authors to make every character sound the same.

The book did start off slowly for me and I personally don’t feel that the amount of detail given into Dennis’s life before high school was really that necessary. I would’ve been fine with a few pages of explanations with his health hardships and moved on to his current life where the book picked up speed. However, I do really like Matos’s writing style. It is well-written and filled with metaphors that add color to the writing without being irritating in any way which is a difficult balance. Along with that, one of the best things in this book for me was how realistic it was. I am always a fan of raw emotionality in books and this one definitely had it without becoming melodramatic or over-the-top in any way. Reading Dennis’s descent into semi-madness kept me intrigued and had just the right amount of unease and suspense thrown in.

If you’re a fan of complex, YA/A contemporary reads that make you think, this would be a good book to look into. Even with some difficult themes, the writing and emotionality is accessible for all readers. With the next book in the series diving into the 1950s with themes of racism and censorship, this series continues to show promise in producing thought-provoking books.


What do YOU think? If you were afflicted with chronic health problems, would you seek to find a cure yourself? If someone bullied you constantly, would you seek revenge? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you.