My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This was moving along fine and the characters were all doing their thing and revealing stuff about themselves and I was learning about the world and the magic, but then things got REAL problematic at the halfway point… I wasn’t super invested in the story before that, and I definitely wasn’t after that point. I stuck around just to find out what would happen, and the “plot twists” were quite obvious – especially the very last one… It wasn’t dark enough for me and there were so many plot holes and missing explanations. “It is the island’s way.” BUT WHY??? And now that there’s 3 more books that will likely drag out what could have all happened in one? No thanks, I’m out.
Having kitchen gadgets that make you smile are such a good investment. This bag clip monster is adorable and he does the same job as a plain, boring clip. Win-win!
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When I first read the description for this book, I didn’t really want to read it. It sounded like a fluffy high school drama where the MC makes a stupid choice and blah blah blah. Like: “Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened.” Give me a break… But then I saw it was available as an audiobook through my library and I thought why not. The description is so misleading. (For multiple reasons that are obvious when you start reading.) Some heavy shit happens, not the sort of super dramatic high school things that the description would make you think. This heartbreaking topic is so relevant. My high school has experienced this tragedy multiple times, and it happens an alarming amount – even though teenagers all “know better.”
The characters were well developed (but it took me awhile to sort out her friends), the dialogue was great, and the plot really framed the story and let everything just happen. The only way I can really talk about this is dividing it into Before and After. The way that Lena’s life changed is such a great representation of how someone’s life is affected by loss, grief, and guilt. (I can relate to the loss and grief part of that really well, but I can’t fully relate to the guilt aspect of Lena’s story – only a little bit in a much different way.)
Lena has a great high school life happening (can’t relate). She has some really great friends (can sort of relate). She loves food and spends a crazy amount of time reading (now we’re gelling). She adores Rhysand almost as much as me. 😉
She secretly likes the boy next door. Her family life is mixed up, but she has a great mom and sister. She has plans for the future.
Lena goes to an end-of-summer barbecue that turns into a party. Then…
Lena has a lot to deal with. A lot. Trying to imagine myself in her position is extremely hard. Most of the normal things about her life “Before” just stop, and I think that the writing was brilliant in portraying how much everything changed. She doesn’t believe anything good should happen to her, and she puts so much blame on herself. She isolates herself and can’t seem to get past her guilt. That’s all I can really say without giving away too much, but the events that happen “After” are so well written and really showcase the roller coaster that you are forced to ride after a loss changes your life.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
WOW. This was such a great read from start to finish! There are so many emotions packed into these amazing characters – so be prepared to feel some of the emotions they feel. So many themes of life, love, and friendship were worked together to add up to a plot that felt like a journey. The characters make some very questionable choices and the path to love was very rocky, but that all just made me love this book even more. Add in the poetry and this book is like a recipe for a great read.
THE CHARACTERS. They are hurting and flawed and hopeful and loving and so many things that make them feel very real. Nelson expresses grief so well through them that my heart ached many, many times. There’s a scene where Gram talks about Bailey that was just a big pile of sadness that dumped on me. But then they are also having to continue on with their lives, so there is joking and teasing and genuine trying amidst all the hurt. Their family dynamic was so cool and lovely. And the banter between Joe and Lennie is so cute that I may have squeed a few times… The flaws of the characters are what make this story what it is. And I think that’s beautiful.