- My rating: 4.5/5 stars
- Genre: Young adult contemporary
- Publisher: KCP Loft
- 320 pages
The day Raquel has been dreading for months has finally arrived. Sasha, her best friend in the whole world — the best friend in the whole world — has died of cancer. Raquel can’t imagine life without her. She’s overwhelmed and brokenhearted.
And then a letter from Sasha arrives. Has she somehow found a way to communicate from the afterlife?
In fact, Sasha has planned an elaborate scavenger hunt for Raquel, and when she follows the instructions to return to Sasha’s grave, a mysterious stranger with striking eyes is waiting for her. There’s a secret attached to this boy that only Sasha—and now Raquel—knows.
This boy, Elijah, might be just what Raquel needs to move on from her terrible loss. But can Raquel remain true to herself while also honoring her friend’s final wish?
Read below for my spoiler-free review. (I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)
This book is heart wrenching in the best possible way. It’s a story about friendship, love, heartbreak, and the healing that comes after.
The story begins with Raquel Clearwater’s best friend dying of cancer. Sasha Cade was a radiant, pure soul without a bad bone in her body. She and Raquel had a friendship that comes once in a lifetime–their souls were connected even after one had departed.
I love this book because, unlike most YA contemporary, it doesn’t focus on petty drama. All but one of the relationships are completely wholesome and uplifting. Raquel is so lucky to have had what she did with Sasha and the (not so) mysterious Elijah. I adored all three of these characters: Raquel is smart, caring, shy; Elijah cute and witty and charming. The romance between them is one of the main aspects of the book, and it’s done with taste and elegance. Sasha, though, was the true star (at least for me). Although we didn’t see much of her while she was alive, she drove every aspect of the novel. She sends Raquel and Elijah on adventures, and through them, we are able to learn about the deepest aspects of her soul and how she came to be that way. I really, really like Sasha. She’s incredibly kind and thoughtful, and extremely graceful about the way she handles her inevitable death. Not only does she radiate positivity, she speaks from “beyond the grave” to help her family and her best friend come to terms with the loss, which seems like an incredible thing to orchestrate from a hospital bed. Her planning and intuition came naturally to her character, and I love how I was able to feel the essence of who she was through this characterization.
My favorite aspect of the story was the healing. Because of Sasha, Raquel is able to accept her death and even finds comfort knowing that she will always be in her heart. The facet of spirituality in the novel really fascinated me, and it gave me goosebumps because I felt as if I could feel Sasha too. But it came with a lot of sniffling. From both Raquel and me. Seriously, I cried at least three times, full-blown tears.
I’d highly recommend this book to anyone looking for something uplifting–it was heartbreaking in a way that made me feel stronger.