This book…oh where do I even begin with this book. I love this book, I absolutely adore it, it is spectacular. It’s been such a long while that I’ve been able to pick up a teen book that wasn’t hyped up, a gem if you will, a hole in the wall of your library, that has moved me so much.
The story…well in all reality, it’s not just the story that’s so impacting, it’s the characters. The characters are so very in depth, so raw and real that you find yourself ashamed that the human race can realistically be so cruel. All in all, it’s a bit of a mystery, but not something parallel to our usual pipe smoking shadows, no, it’s a mystery that’s fresh and possible: there’s no hidden gunman, no masked marauder, no gallant witty detective to come and save the day.
The main cast, for all intents and purposes, are teenagers. Yes: teenagers. And they are a perfect reflection of the shallowness of highschool, but instead of being shown how horrible they are by the narrative cutting them down, it’s shown through memory and regret. And did I mention that the book mainly takes place in the after life?
I’m sure I’ll get plenty of phantom dislikes for this, but I describe it as “Lovely Bones done right”. And that’s not to say that Lovely Bones was horrible, it wasn’t, but this takes a similar path that that book does, only one that’s much less beaten down.
Not every murder mystery about a pretty young teenage girl has to be about lust, or include full blown rape, or images that are more grotesque than they are haunting. I’m so very very very tempted to go on about the story, but I truly feel that I would cheapen it by describing its plot any further than I already have. This book, in a word, is just…indescribable.
It plays on flaws and sins that every one of us has, every one of us. Though I don’t want to say too much about the story, I will at least say my favorite character. His name is Alex, and if any of the ones reading this pay attention to the books I’ve listed as my favorites, you’ll know perfectly well why. (*cough* Peter Pan *cough* Dax Praxx *cough*)
I think another thing I love so much about this book is that it immediately shows the flaws of the seemingly picture perfect image of the protagonist. I will say, yes she’s an athlete, a popular athlete, but it makes sure to point out that she’s not the best athlete despite how much she delves in it. She’s a runner, one that goes through shoes so much that she’s made a bit of a gallery out of them by writing the dates she gets her shoes on one shoe out of the pair, and the date that they’re ruined from being run in too much on the other shoe.
Needless to say, she has piles of shoes.
And it points out that despite how much she runs, she’s still not the best, she doesn’t win that much, but that she can endure. That’s what this book is about you know: endurance. And that point is made so much more and is so very gripping in showing her flaws and failures since the story is told from her point of view. It’s one thing for the narrative to describe the protagonist as a failure: it’s a new mature level when the protagonist can openly admit this themselves. Especially when the character isn’t an angsty child and is just honestly admitting their flaws.
So without me giving anymore away: please give this book a chance. I sent a note in the book right before I placed it into the book drop at the library I checked it out from, and I leave that note to you:
"Congratulations. You’re about to be introduced to a truly beautiful story…I truly hope that you enjoy it as much as I did."
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