I received this book as an ARC from the Barnes & Noble B-fest. A lot of you probably attended this, so a lot of you probably already own/have read it. I think copies were also given out at Y’all West and BEA, but I’m not sure.
My rating: 5/5 Stars
I realize that this is a very generous awarding of stars. I mean, the book was written fairly well, the characters were whiny at best (straight up 2-year olds at worst), and the plot was way far-fetched and didn’t make much sense. But for some reason, something in this book resonated with me. It made me think of my own life, and ponder both the inevitabilities and mysteries of the future. Call me crazy, but I liked this book.
Expected Release Date: January 3, 2017
Price: $17.99 USD
A teenage misfit named Hawthorn Creely inserts herself in the investigation of missing person Lizzie Lovett, who disappeared mysteriously while camping with her boyfriend. Hawthorn doesn’t mean to interfere, but she has a pretty crazy theory about what happened to Lizzie. In order to prove it, she decides to immerse herself in Lizzie’s life. That includes taking her job… and her boyfriend. It’s a huge risk — but it’s just what Hawthorn needs to find her own place in the world.
So, I’ll get the things that are wrong with the book out of the way first. If I went into detail, this would be a long review, so I’m just going to talk about some general pet peeves of mine.
The first was the writing style. I know, I know, contemporary is just written this way these days. I absolutely hate it. All of the authors try to be some version of John Green (whose writing I don’t like in the first place), and it really irks me how none of them write in their own voice. I’m tired of reading the same old thing over and over, which is why I try to avoid contemporary. This one was no different, sadly.
Another thing I didn’t like was the plot. Hawthorn, the main character, is oddly obsessed with Lizzie Lovett, for reasons that weren’t explained. All the time, 24/7, Hawthorn was thinking about Lizzie like a teenager obsessed with a boyband. Except that’s somewhat normal. This was quite abnormal, because she hardly even knew the girl. Her older brother, who was actually friends with the missing Lizzie, was sad at first, but got over it. So why is his little sister so damn stalkerish??? It gets to the point where Hawthorn is working Lizzie’s old job and hanging out with Lizzie’s boyfriend. And then she gets this weird theory that Lizzie is a werewolf, and she won’t let that go, either. Ugh. UGHHH.
In the end (don’t worry, no spoilers), the whole disappearance turns out to be somewhat bland and anticlimactic. The story seemed like it was leading up to something grand, but alas. So what does all this crap add up to?
The answer is: life.
I am literally the cheesiest person in the world for saying this. But, as Hawthorn so illuminates, humans grasp onto straws because they think it will provide a lifeline in the mystery of life. We hang onto impossible ideas, blind to our own obstinacy because the impossible ideas are the only things we have. In the end, we are totally helpless as to what’s coming. Sometimes, we like that, but other times it terrifies us. We like to pretend that everything is planned out, but deep down, we know that life is a big, unpredictable enigma. We pray that the enigma will be unravel and be something beautiful and wonderful, but even deeper down, we know that life is reality, and reality is harsh.
Although this book was really silly and jumbled, I still got the message loud and clear. As a teenager who is planning for college, and for a career, and for life, I relate to this message more than I’d like to. Like Hawthorn, I’m terrified of the future, and this book kind of just illuminated the reasons behind that fear. After finishing it (in two sittings), I actually felt better knowing that maybe someone else feels the way I do about what’s to come. I think that this book taught me that there’s no way to avoid the future, only accept it.
Like I said: CHEESY. I’m sorry you had to suffer through reading that… oops. That being said, I stand by my views of the book. It’s earned a place among my top contemporary favorites (which isn’t that hard), and it will stay with me for a long time. Isn’t that what books are for?