There are a few spoilers, but I have the paragraphs marked.
I read this in early June and didn’t get around to reviewing it until now. Somewhere I have detailed notes on what I wanted to write about, but I don’t know where they’ve gotten to. We’ll see how this goes.
It seems like everyone loves this book. I can vaguely recall overhearing people talking about it, I’ve seen it at several bookstores, and most of the goodreads ratings are positive. I don’t know how many positive, glowing reviews I’ve read about this book.
This isn’t going to be one of those reviews.
In an effort to avoid being to negative, not everything was bad about this book.
I liked how the different perspectives were handled. For a lot of the book it only had two different perspectives, and I expected it to continue to have just those two perspectives for the entire book. About one hundred fifty pages into it, there started to occasionally be chapters from other character’s perspectives. I liked that their perspectives didn’t come in until later, and then, after they did come in, didn’t come in a lot. It just gave you a tiny bit of backstory for each of the characters, a little view into how and what they think. I had already formed opinions of the characters, but, after seeing how they thought and some of the reasoning behind how and what they thought, my opinions kind of changed. It didn’t take me long to decide that I didn’t like Sean. I didn’t think he was nice enough to Finn because an older sibling’s job is to take care of their little sibling and make sure that nothing bad every happens to them. I know that part of the reason I feel this way is because of the things I mentioned about my sister in my last review. I know that a lot of older siblings probably don’t feel this way, but I can’t not think this, so, fair or not, I judged him. I don’t want to give spoilers because I feel like you probably need to go into this not knowing much, but his chapter made me dislike him slightly less.
I thought that this book was going to have a lot more magic in it. The description I read online seemed somewhat magical, but when I actually got the book I started to wonder if it wasn’t going to be some dark contemporary. There were some parts that were magical, but even the magic parts read like a contemporary. Maybe the author’s goal was to write a magical realism novel for contemporary fans? I don’t know. It felt more like a coming of age romance than anything else. If you normally read contemporaries, and you want to try magical realism, this would be a good book to start with; however, if you normally read fantasy, this will seem lacking.
A lot of the praise I’m seeing for this book is how relatable the characters are and how easy it is to connect to them. I didn’t relate or connect to any of them. I was able to understand some of them better after reading the chapters from their perspective, but understanding them and connecting to them are two totally different things. I didn’t feel their pain. I didn’t think that the relationships were cute and shippable. Honestly, I thought the characters were kind of flat, and I was surprised to find that so many people related to them. The characters didn’t really show any emotion, and, being the overly emotional person that I am, I can’t relate to someone like that.
The characters made choices that didn’t make sense. Like when Petey decides to sleep with Finn AND THEN, AFTER THEY SLEEP TOGETHER, she asks him if he’s only dating her because she looks weird. You’d think you’d want to get that dealt with before you sleep with someone because, if you genuinely think that someone might like you only for some shallow reason and if you’re actually right, you probably don’t want to sleep with them. Is this supposed to make them more relatable because they make poor relationship decisions? Also, as a side note, they slept together in a literal field. They have ticks in places no one wants ticks. Not ever. Whether Finn is with Petey just for her looks is the least of their issues now. This is your Lyme PSA for today.
I felt like the plot twist with Finn was anticlimactic. I don’t want to get into spoilers, but I don’t know how to avoid it here, so if you want to avoid this spoiler, skip the rest of this paragraph. Finn can’t recognize faces. I guess there were vague hints to this throughout the rest of the book but not in the way that you can figure it out before the big reveal. I mean, I guess it makes sense with the book, but the way it was revealed was so weird. I feel like the author could have done more.
If you’re really sensitive about spoilers, skip the next paragraph, too. Even if you’re only somewhat sensitive about spoilers, you should probably avoid the next paragraph.
I wanted there to be more backstory on the man who kidnapped Rosa and his motives. I love villains. I want to know all their reasoning, what inspired them to become villains, and every single little bit of their backstory. There can never be too much backstory for a good villain. Why did he kidnap her? Yeah, because he wanted to marry her, but go deeper than that. Why her? Where did he get his powers? How does he use them? He was interesting, but he could have been so much more interesting. Maybe give a short chapter of backstory for him at the end? I don’t know.
On goodreads I gave this two and a half stars. I guess I still kind of feel like 2-2.5 stars is reasonable.