Review: The Obsession by Jesse Q. Sutanto

A classic sort of love story… except somebody might wind up dead.

Nobody knows Delilah like Logan does. Nobody. He makes sure of it by learning everything he can through her social media and watching her through a hidden camera he has trained on her house. Some might call him a stalker. Logan prefers to be called “romantic.”

But after Logan sees Delilah killing her abusive stepfather, he realizes there’s still more about her to discover. His sweet, perfect Delilah isn’t so perfect after all.

Delilah knows she should feel guilty, but all she feels is free. She’s so over the men in her life controlling her. Except Logan saw what she did, and he won’t let her forget it.

Delilah is done being the victim. And she refuses to be a character in Logan’s twisted fantasy. If Logan won’t let her go… she’ll make him.

Title: The Obsession
Author: Jesse Q. Sutanto
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery/Thriller
Targeted Age Range: Young Adult
Representation: Half-Singaporean main character
Trigger Warnings: Mentioned death of a teenager, stalking, mentioned death of a parent, mentions of an abusive partner (boyfriend of Delilah’s mother), mentions of drugs, racism, police, mentions of police brutality (chapter 4), sexism and misogyny, blood, death (on page, chapter 5), murder (on page, chapter 5), vomit (chapter 5), blackmail, mention of an attempted suicide (chapter 10), mentions of suicide and drug overdose (chapter 15), joke about an eating disorder (chapter 16), breaking and entering, drug use (not of character’s own volition), vaping (chapter 20), drowning (on page, chapter 21 & chapter 22)
Rating:  ★★★★★

After I read an ARC of Dial A for Aunties back in January of this year, I was hooked on Jesse Q. Sutanto’s writing.I immediately bought a copy of The Obsession once it was released. Between ARCS, buddy reads, new releases and just life in general, it took a while between purchasing a copy of The Obsession and actually reading it, but oh boy oh boy, am I glad that I picked up this book. I had really been in the mood for a fast-paced mystery that would keep me on my toes. This book delivered that and then some!

As I’m sure you all know by now, here at Tea Time Lit we like to pair books with music, and specifically, we like to pair them with Taylor Swift’s music. If I was going to pair The Obsession with any songs I would absolutely go with Look What You Made Me Do, Don’t Blame Me, I Did Something Bad, and Mad Woman. Honestly, there are a lot of reputation vibes with this book, especially the early tracks on the album. In fact one of my notes while reading is literally just, “Yes girl, LWYMMD all over this situation” the vibes are there, so if you’re a lover of the reputation album then I definitely think you’ll enjoy this one.

My favorite thing about The Obsession had to be the characterization. The characters were specific and very nuanced, they had layers to them and no one felt one dimensional. 

I don’t know if there are many other literary characters in recent years that have made me as uncomfortable as Logan did. From the first page I was completely put off by him. He’s also one of the worst kinds of predators – he’s an unsuspecting one. On the outside he’s charming, funny, good looking, charismatic and kind. He’s unsuspecting because he seems so likable, but underneath it all he is calculated, manipulative, obsessive and controlling. The way that he so casually stalks and obsesses over Delilah (and before her a classmate named Sophie) is truly terrifying, but in his mind the things he does are okay because he’s doing them “in the name of love”. He is written so incredibly well that I found myself physically shuddering and verbally protesting many of the things he said and did. Reading chapters from his point of view was unsettling, but in the best way. You’re supposed to feel that way and Sutanto absolutely delivered. Another gem from my notes is: “oh my god I hate his stupid manipulative face!!!!!!!” So that’s how I felt about Logan. 

“I wasn’t going to let Logan corner me and swallow me whole like I was some helpless prey. Step three: be the snake”

Delilah ended up being completely different than I expected, and I loved it. She starts off as a shell of her former self. The death of her father really shook her, and then a few months after his death, her mother started a relationship with an abusive man. This made Delilah close in on herself so that she wouldn’t draw attention from anyone, especially her mother’s boyfriend Brandon. As the book goes on, you see her drop that shell and come back to life, and she does it with a bang. The Delilah at the beginning of the book is completely different from the Delilah at the end of the book and her transformation is astonishing. I can’t say specifically what happens without giving too much away, but I honestly was shocked and didn’t see it coming. In fact, there’s one reveal that happened where my notes simply read: “OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD?????” I loved her journey into a morally grey character and can’t wait to see the continuation of that journey in the sequel. 

Finally, I must say that the duality of Jesse Q. Sutanto is astonishing. While both The Obsession and Dial A for Aunties have the common thread of death and murder, these two books couldn’t be any more different. Dial A for Aunties is laugh out loud funny and while murder is definitely a central plot line, the story isn’t dark and has a big focus on family relationships and character independence.
The Obsession, on the other hand, had my skin crawling from the very first line. There’s a darkness to this book that wasn’t in Dial A for Aunties, and I think if you’re a fan of dark mysteries this is something to check out. If you’re a fan of You then you will love The Obsession. I’m also so excited that there will be a sequel, as I think the ending of the book left certain things open to interpretation and I can’t wait to see how everything plays out.

Links for The Obsession: Goodreads | TheStoryGraph | Bookshop | IndieBound

Jesse Q Sutanto grew up shuttling back and forth between Jakarta and Singapore and sees both cities as her homes. She has a Masters degree from Oxford University, though she has yet to figure out a way of saying that without sounding obnoxious. She is currently living back in Jakarta on the same street as her parents and about seven hundred meddlesome aunties. When she’s not tearing out her hair over her latest WIP, she spends her time baking and playing FPS games. Oh, and also being a mom to her two kids.

Follow Jesse: Website | Twitter | Instagram

4 thoughts on “Review: The Obsession by Jesse Q. Sutanto

    1. thank you! dial a for aunties is hilarious, so definitely check that out! the obsession was released in february of this year and then dial a was released in april! i hope you enjoy it and i’d love to hear your thoughts on it!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s