The Never Never Sisters by L. Alison Heller

The Never Never SistersThe Never Never Sisters by L. Alison Heller
Published by NAL Trade
Unsolicited review copy provided by the publisher

From the publisher:

Marriage counselor Paige Reinhardt is counting down the days to summer, eager to reconnect with her workaholic husband at their cozy rental cottage in the Hamptons. But soon a mysterious crisis at Dave’s work ruins their getaway plans. Paige is still figuring out how to handle the unexplained chill in her marriage when her troubled sister suddenly returns after a two-decade silence. Now, instead of enjoying the lazy summer days along the ocean, Paige is navigating the rocky waters of a forgotten bond with her sister in the sweltering city heat.

As she attempts to dig deeper into Dave’s work troubles and some long-held family secrets, Paige is shocked to discover how little she knows about the people closest to her. This summer, the self-proclaimed relationship expert will grapple with her biggest challenge yet: Is it worth risking your most precious relationships in order to find yourself?

This novel appealed to me because I find myself attracted to books about sibling relationships, although to be honest I can’t think of a ton in recent memory that have actually done the complicated relationship between sisters justice. The Never Never Sisters comes pretty close to one of the best I’ve read in that aspect in the past few years. The sisters in this book are basically strangers when the book begins, but over time they get to know each other and end up pretty close by the end of the novel. While Paige’s relationship with her estranged sister is the focus of a lot of the novel, there are lots more issues happening here too – issues in her marriage, rocky relationships with her parents, and even the issues that her clients are facing come up throughout the novel. But although there’s a lot here, it never feels bogged down with all the issues. Instead, Heller handles each of these things with respect and unfolds the story and its issues out for the reader slowly, in a way that gets the reader more and more invested in Paige and her life as the book progresses.

I could really sympathize with Paige in her dealings with her estranged sister. My sister and I are about as opposite as two people can be, and for many years we didn’t get along well at all. We just didn’t get each other whatsoever. That all changed when my niece was born and my sister and I developed a bond unlike anything we’d shared in our lives up to that point, but all that being said, I completely understood Paige’s struggles to understand her sister and empathize with her. The two of them were just SO different, and they had such different life experiences because of the large age gap between them, it was a miracle they managed to find a way to connect at all. It was emotionally rewarding for me to read as the two of them knit their lives and personalities together in such a way that they came to truly understand and love each other.

The Never Never Sisters was the kind of book I really couldn’t put down. I truly found all of the complicated relationships and dramas to be incredibly compelling, and I was so invested in Paige that I absolutely needed to find out how things would end up for her. There’s a lot Paige discovers about her family, her marriage, and herself, and it was truly an enjoyable experience for me to be on this journey with her. Highly recommended.

The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

The Aviator's WifeThe Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin
Published by Delacorte Press
Review copy received at SIBA 2012

From the publisher:

For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family. There she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the celebrated aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong.

Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. Hounded by adoring crowds and hunted by an insatiable press, Charles shields himself and his new bride from prying eyes, leaving Anne to feel her life falling back into the shadows. In the years that follow, despite her own major achievements—she becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States—Anne is viewed merely as the aviator’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness.

There has been a recent trend in books over the past several years of historical fiction featuring the wives of prominent historical figures, and The Aviator’s Wife is one more shining example of how fun that trend can be. Truthfully, I didn’t know much about Charles Lindbergh before picking up this novel (just that he was a famous aviator who broke some records and that his baby was kidnapped), but now I not only know a ton about Lindbergh, but I feel that I intimately understand his life as seen through the (fictionalized version) eyes of his wife, Anne.

I got deeply involved with this book from the first page. I was drawn to Anne immediately – although she’d always been seen as secondary to her beautiful and popular older sister, I liked her intelligence, her ability to see people for their true selves, and her adventurous spirit, which are three qualities that drew Lindbergh to her as well. From their first meeting, Anne and Charles are like two peas in a pod, they can trust no one else and although their lives are scrutinized by the press and they are stalked constantly by the paparazzi, they find solace in each other and are able to escape from the craziness only when it is just the two of them alone in the air together. I loved the way their relationship would change, especially in the early years, when they were flying together – it was this thing that they shared and that no one could take away from them.

Unfortunately, their marriage was rocky and Charles wasn’t necessarily the nicest person to be around. He was moody, dark, and didn’t always share his thoughts and feelings with Anne. And what he did share, oftentimes were simply commands, things that she was expected to do as his wife, no arguments allowed. Benjamin illuminated for the reader both the highs and the lows of their marriage and, despite everything, showed that in the end there was a fierce love shared between the two of them even when Anne finally found the independence she so fought for throughout her marriage and her life.

I really enjoyed this book and have to say that I appreciated the mix between history and fiction that Benjamin brought to it. I loved learning about the Lindberghs and Benjamin told their story in a compelling and entertaining way. Anne Lindbergh’s life was incredibly sad at times, as she dealt with the debilitating loss of a child and a controlling, sometimes cruel husband, but she also deeply loved her husband and children and created a true legacy of her own as a female aviator. I highly recommend The Aviator’s Wife as an excellent piece of historical fiction.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where'd You Go, BernadetteWhere’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Published by Little, Brown and Company

From the publisher:

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette is every bit as charming and wonderful as everyone says it is. I put off reading this one for a while because I thought it couldn’t possibly live up to the hype – it seemed like literally EVERYONE loved it – but it turned out that all that hype was for good reason.

Semple does so many things well in this novel. She crafted such flawed, ridiculously real characters in Bernadette, her husband, and all of the secondary characters that are sprinkled throughout the book – the moms at school and her husband’s administrative assistant come to mind most prominently. And Bee is SUCH a charming, sweet girl that I just wanted the best for. She’s crafty, super intelligent, creative, spunky, just an overall awesome kid. And the fierce love and protectiveness she felt for her mother absolutely melted me.

Semple really knows how to structure a book to get the reader fully invested and take them on this incredible journey with the characters. Her set-up to Bernadette’s disappearance took nearly half the book, and throughout that time I grew so attached to these characters, all the while knowing that their worlds were about to implode, and I was both looking forward to that part in the book and fearing it at the same time.

Another thing that I loved about the novel is the incredible sense of place that Semple created with her writing. I have been to Seattle once, and I loved it, and Semple made me want to go back there right now. Even though Bernadette hated Seattle, the ways she described it still held my interest and reminded me of all the things I loved about visiting there. And once the disappearance happens, and Bee and her dad go off in search of Bernadette, the descriptions of where they went to look for her were fantastic. I wanted to go there, too (I won’t tell you where they went!).

The search for Bernadette is kind of like a wild goose chase but was handled perfectly in Semple’s highly capable hands. I couldn’t stop listening as Bee and her dad got closer and closer to figuring out what happened to her mom. There were some major surprises toward the end and I was truly satisfied by the time it was over.

I listened to the audio of Where’d You Go, Bernadette and it was an excellent choice. Lots of the story is told through emails and other nontraditional forms of communication, but somehow the narrator, Kathleen Wilhoite, handled the whole thing flawlessly. It wasn’t difficult at all for me to follow what was happening, who was speaking, etc. – it was just perfect.

This book really is as wonderful as everyone is saying. I absolutely loved it.

The Fever by Megan Abbott

The FeverThe Fever by Megan Abbott
Published by Little, Brown, and Company
Review copy provided by Netgalley

From the publisher:

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie’s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town’s fragile idea of security.

When a book is just okay for me, but there are aspects of greatness within, I will almost always pick up another book by that author to see if it was just that particular novel or if it’s the author in general I’m just not a fan of. In the case of Megan Abbott, after reading The Fever, I can definitely say it’s the author’s style that doesn’t click with me. I read The End of Everything a couple of years ago and just didn’t get it … and now, with The Fever, same experience. But let me start with what I DO like about this author.

She totally, completely, gets teen girls. She gets their cliquiness, their bullying, their complicated relationships with their families, each other, and themselves. She gets self-loathing and self-doubt, she gets the weird mix of overconfidence and insecurity that the most popular girls typically have, she just understands them and can write them amazingly well. She also gets how communities can be so deeply affected by what’s happening to the children within that community, how communities can rally around kids in trouble, and at the same time come together to shun the “bad” kids in the mix. She is also an excellent writer. Her writing is taught and careful, never using too many words or flowery language, describing everything perfectly with spot-on dialogue.

With all that being said, you’d think I absolutely loved The Fever, right? Unfortunately, and I can’t do a great job of explaining why, but I just did not. Ultimately I didn’t connect to any of the characters, I felt like they were being kept at arm’s length from me the entire time, and the terror and panic that these families were feeling just didn’t resonate in my heart. It’s like my brain enjoyed the book but my emotions didn’t care for it. Also the ending felt very anti-climactic – the whole book was built around this strange affliction that the girls were dealing with, and when the cause was finally revealed, it was like … meh.

On the surface, Megan Abbott is a great author and I’m happy to recommend her writing and the way she is able to create believable troubled teen girls. But for me personally, her books are just okay, and now that I’ve read two of them I can say that for certain this author is one that I won’t be going back to.

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

The Twelve Tribes of HattieThe Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis
Published by Knopf
Unsolicited review copy provided by the publisher

From the publisher:

In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia, hoping for a chance at a better life. Instead, she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins succumb to an illness a few pennies could have prevented.  Hattie gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave.  She vows to prepare them for the calamitous difficulty they are sure to face in their later lives, to meet a world that will not love them, a world that will not be kind. Captured here in twelve luminous narrative threads, their lives tell the story of a mother’s monumental courage and the journey of a nation. 

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is more a series of linked short stories than a novel, and while I don’t experience books like this too often, I almost always enjoy them when I do. This book was no different – I enjoyed it tremendously and the format of linked short stories was a fantastic way to tell the story of Hattie’s life through her children.

Even though the book is ostensibly about Hattie’s children, it turns out that their stories just serve as a vehicle for the reader to get to know this family overall, and to get to know Hattie better and more clearly as each story goes on. The book begins with Hattie losing her firstborn twins, at a time when she is very young, poor, and married to a man she hardly knows. This loss absolutely rocked Hattie to her core, and although she had nine more children, the loss of those twins was something she felt deep in her soul every minute of every day for her entire life.

Hattie broke my heart because after the loss of her twins, she wasn’t able to love the rest of her kids in the same way. It was almost like she wanted to show them that love and affection that she knew they deserved, but she kept them at arm’s length – for fear they’d leave her too, or to teach them the harsh ways of the world, I’m not really sure – and every one of the children suffered in some way because of her inability to give them what they craved from her.

Mathis is an excellent story-teller, and although she tells the story of this family in a nonlinear fashion, the format really worked for me. The reader gets a fully realized picture of this entire family by the time the book is through, and it became kind of a game for me to make connections between characters as the chapters went on – figuring out the birth order, who got along with which of their siblings, who was still living at home when certain events took place, things like that. The writing is effective, and while Mathis doesn’t use flowery language, her prose is very beautiful at times.

I really enjoyed The Twelve Tribes of Hattie. While it’s on the slim side, the connected short stories really worked for me and I felt deeply for the main character and her children. I connected with them in a way that was unexpected, given the nonlinear format of the book. Definitely give it a try if you like unconventional story-telling, fantastic characters, and an emotional story.

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs, #1)Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
Published by Penguin

From the publisher:

Maisie Dobbs isn’t just any young housemaid. Through her own natural intelligence—and the patronage of her benevolent employers—she works her way into college at Cambridge. When World War I breaks out, Maisie goes to the front as a nurse. It is there that she learns that coincidences are meaningful and the truth elusive. After the War, Maisie sets up on her own as a private investigator. But her very first assignment, seemingly an ordinary infidelity case, soon reveals a much deeper, darker web of secrets, which will force Maisie to revisit the horrors of the Great War and the love she left behind.

The Maisie Dobbs series has been a favorite among book bloggers, which is why the first two books have been on my shelves for years. When I finally dug into the first installment, I could see why bloggers have been delighted by Maisie – I was definitely charmed by her intelligence and pluck – but at the same time, I was slightly underwhelmed by the overall experience of reading the novel.

The best way I can think to describe Maisie is a grown-up Nancy Drew. The mystery, while being of a serious nature, is relatively tame overall, and the plot and getting to the bottom of things isn’t very complex. Maisie is extremely smart, driven, and will do just about anything to get to the truth, and since the book has a historical setting, these qualities weren’t exactly encouraged in women at that time, making her even more fun to read about and get to know.

There’s a love story intertwined with the mystery, and I think that was a nice departure from the rest of the novel – Winspear struck a good balance between solving the mystery and giving the reader adequate insight into Maisie’s life before becoming a private investigator. The war setting is a compelling one, too, as we learn just how deeply Maisie and those around her were affected by it.

I think because I was expecting a lot from this novel, it didn’t quite live up to what I was hoping for. But I still enjoyed Maisie Dobbs and will probably continue with the series. I think as I get to know the character of Maisie, her story and the mysteries she solves might become more compelling.

We Are Water by Wally Lamb

We Are WaterWe Are Water by Wally Lamb
Published by Harper

From the publisher:

In middle age, Anna Oh – wife, mother, outsider artist – has shaken her family to its core. After twenty-seven years of marriage and three children, Anna has fallen in love with Vivica, the wealthy, cultured, confident Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her professional success.

Anna and Viveca plan to wed in the Oh family’s hometown of Three Rivers in Connecticut, where gay marriage has recently been legalized. But the impending wedding provokes some very mixed reactions and opens a Pandora’s Box of toxic secrets–dark and painful truths that have festered below the surface of the Ohs’ lives.

We Are Water is an intricate and layered portrait of marriage, family, and the inexorable need for understanding and connection, told in the alternating voices of the Ohs–nonconformist Annie; her ex-husband, Orion, a psychologist; Ariane, the do-gooder daughter, and her twin, Andrew, the rebellious only son; and free-spirited Marissa, the youngest Oh. Set in New England and New York during the first years of the Obama presidency, it is also a portrait of modern America, exploring issues of class, changing social mores, the legacy of racial violence, and the nature of creativity and art.

With humor and breathtaking compassion, Wally Lamb brilliantly captures the essence of human experience in vivid and unforgettable characters struggling to find hope and redemption in the aftermath of trauma and loss. We Are Water is vintage Wally Lamb-a compulsively readable, generous, and uplifting masterpiece that digs deep into the complexities of the human heart to explore the ways in which we search for love and meaning in our lives.

I have been a long-time fan of Lamb’s books, ever since Oprah introduced the world to She’s Come Undone twenty years ago. I read that and I Know This Much Is True as a teenager and instantly fell in love with his complex character studies, gorgeous writing, and the myriad of issues that show up in all of Lamb’s novels. Sadly, I never picked up his third novel (although I own it and keep planning on it), so I was thrilled when my book club chose We Are Water, forcing me to read a book I wanted desperately to read anyway. And I have to tell you, this novel is every bit as complex as the first two, and just as fantastic. I loved it.

There is SO MUCH going on in this novel. Gay marriage and those who oppose it, child abuse in its many forms, racism, the military and how it has the potential to change people, wealth and privilege, unplanned pregnancy, you name it, you can probably find it in the pages of We Are Water. In addition to these issues, the characters here are so nuanced, so honest, so very real, that you can’t help but embrace them, flaws and all. And these people are abundantly flawed – they all at some point hurt those closest to them, some because the are incapable of doing better, some because they are unwilling to do better, or to see what’s happening around them. This family has so many skeletons, so much buried beneath the surface of their real lives, that when they do finally come together and allow honesty into their relationships, things get heavy very quickly. It’s heartbreaking to read but so unflinchingly honest and true that the reader can’t possibly turn away from what’s happening on the page.

What I love about Lamb’s novels is that they are the kinds of books you can really sink your teeth into. The kinds of books that transport you into another family’s existence, where as a reader you can disappear for hours or even days, immersing yourself into their world. When I finished this book, I couldn’t get the characters out of my head. Even now, over a month after finishing it, when I’ve read ten or so books since, scenes from the novel keep popping up in my brain when I least expect that to happen. I won’t forget these characters and their stories for a long time – which reminds me of just why I love Wally Lamb in the first place. It made me want to read his third novel immediately, then go back and re-read the first two of his books.

I have to be honest – I read this for book club and I was disappointed that we didn’t have more of a discussion around the novel. Our book club hasn’t had the greatest discussions lately but I truly thought that this novel, of anything we’ve ever read, should have sparked some really interesting conversations. Oh well – I can tell you that it is a GREAT book club pick because there is truly so much here to talk about.

Anyway, can you tell that I loved We Are Water? One of the best books I’ve read this year, hands down. I give this one my most high recommendation.

Panic by Lauren Oliver

PanicPanic by Lauren Oliver
Published by HarperCollins

From the publisher:

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

Lauren Oliver is such a phenomenal author that I knew I’d be reading her newest novel right when it was released. I’ve loved her books in the past and couldn’t wait to dig into this one as soon as my library hold came in, and overall I enjoyed the book quite a bit but was sad that it wasn’t quite up to her usual standards of awesomeness.

I knew nothing about the novel before picking it up, and in the beginning I wasn’t sure if this was a standard contemporary type novel or dystopian fiction. It took me a little bit to realize that it’s (somewhat far-fetched and unbelievable) contemporary fiction with a thriller edge to it. I liked this side of Oliver and am hopeful that she writes more books like Panic.

What I liked about this novel was the pacing and the excitement of the story itself. I couldn’t put the book down and it was truly an entertaining experience, every minute I spent with this story and these characters. Panic is very much a wild ride that keeps the reader guessing nonstop. I did like Heather and Dodge, although I had some minor issues with the ways that Oliver chose to construct Heather’s character – some of her choices seemed a bit off based on other things we learn about her throughout the novel. But Oliver did sell me on her personality, I truly felt for Heather and her sad situation and hoped for things to turn around in her life.

What bothered me about this novel was how unbelievable it was – there is no way that this kind of game would be tolerated by parents and teachers and local authorities in the real world. Also, there’s this element of the story that is supposed to be a huge secret that was entirely too obvious to me and, I assume, other readers.

But overall, Lauren Oliver never disappoints me with her writing and her storytelling and Panic was no different. While I didn’t love everything about her newest novel, I was highly entertained and couldn’t put the book down. Definitely recommended.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were LiarsWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Published by Delacorte Press
Review copy provided by Netgalley

From the publisher:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
 
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

There have been MANY reviews for this one popping up over the last couple of weeks, and I’m going to echo what a lot of people said when I tell you that I truly don’t want to tell you anything about this book. I went into it knowing nothing but the above summary and while I spent the first half of the book mostly confused but also intrigued, as the novel went on I grew more and more invested in the story and couldn’t put it down. By the time it was over, I was feeling so emotional that I couldn’t pick up another book right away. Yes, it’s that kind of book – the one that forces you to take a reading break in order to digest everything and move on.

We Were Liars is packed full of stuff that’s ripe for discussion but unfortunately, I’d rather not discuss it here until you read it. It would be perfect for a book club as there is just SO MUCH to talk about.

Just read it. You won’t be sorry.

A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash

A Land More Kind Than HomeA Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
Published by William Morrow
Review copy received at SIBA 2012

From the publisher:

For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when your mother catches you spying on grown-ups. Adventurous and precocious, Jess is enormously protective of his older brother, Christopher, a mute whom everyone calls Stump. Though their mother has warned them not to snoop, Stump can’t help sneaking a look at something he’s not supposed to—an act that will have catastrophic repercussions, shattering both his world and Jess’s. It’s a wrenching event that thrusts Jess into an adulthood for which he’s not prepared. While there is much about the world that still confuses him, he now knows that a new understanding can bring not only a growing danger and evil—but also the possibility of freedom and deliverance as well.

I had been planning on reading this book for YEARS before I picked it up. Literally, years – everyone raved about it when it was published in January 2012, and then at SIBA later that year I picked up a copy of the ARC for the paperback release. I finally got to it last month and while I’m glad I read it, I think I built it up in my head too much and anticipated an incredible novel, and it just didn’t wow me.

Let’s start with what I did like, though. Jess was an exceptional narrator, and I was blown away by how well Cash was able to narrate from the point of view of a preteen boy. What’s so interesting about Jess’s narration is that he’s very innocent, and doesn’t quite get what’s going on with the adults around him – until things become too clear for him at too young an age and he’s forced to grow up really fast. I was fascinated by his abrupt transition into adulthood, but at the same time it was incredibly sad to read as the reasons why this happens to him are heartbreaking.

I also found Cash to be very talented at creating multiple narrators with very distinct voices. Jess, the town midwife Adelaide, and the sheriff Clem all narrate several chapters of the book, and it was so easy to know exactly who was talking every time the narration switched. Also, having these three very different points of view gave the reader a really solid picture of what was going on in this town – and who was on which side of it.

The main issue I had with A Land More Kind Than Home is not a specific issue at all, actually. I liked the book well enough but it just didn’t have that special something to wow me. The characters were good, the story was interesting, the setting was well-drawn, but I just didn’t connect emotionally to the story. And this is a very emotional story, so I should have felt that connection. It was probably just me and my too-high expectations, but sadly I didn’t fall in love with this novel the way that a lot of other bloggers seemed to.

But again, I liked the book! So don’t take my lack of love as a sign of a bad novel. In fact, many readers have adored this book and Cash’s more recent novel, too. So if the story sounds interesting to you, give it a try and let me know your thoughts if you do!