Everything I love in Suki is here. Another great “cachito” of hers.
When I first began this book, it was off to me. I believed this would come to a terribly unhappy ending, with Sam being sick and walking alongside Death until the very moment when he would join her forever.
Then I felt this was going nowhere, that Xavi’s actions were an undeniable proof that this love story was never meant to happen. That there never was a “they” so “they” would never exist.
But somehow there is this turn of events and this book touched my inner core in such a way that I cannot grasp entirely.
It’s a “typical” Suki Fleet story. There is everything I love in her: very young hopeless social outcasts, disabilities, hospital scenes, pandora-boxes secrets that are revealed very late into the story. And pure angst. And true love.
Which means that I should have already had time to get used to her, that I should have been expecting this treacherous blow. It was a proper sucker punch, and I was not prepared for it.
At first I didn’t think it was possible. At first I couldn’t see it happening. At first I was this trusting young girl who was led into a magical world where in truth nothing is otherworldly.
Until it was.
I’ve not known Suki for that long. I read the first book a year and a half ago. But somehow, I’ve grown up with her. Somehow, I’ve learnt to see misfits under a different light, I’ve learnt to see under the surface. The sensibility she shows in every book of hers is addictive of a kind. And the study of character is so inspiring and beautiful I’ve fallen under her spell a way too often.
This time, it was the other way around, I’ve remembered things from my past and seen them written here. Being shaped into words. Seeing them in the inked form like this has done something deep inside me. It’s not that any of this has happened to me on any personal level, but Suki made it feel that way. Made it feel personal.
The hospital is the turning point in the story. Or, better said, it was that so-close-to-the-end-of-life situation which changed everything for me. Since that moment on, I was so invested in the characters I felt every emotion of theirs in my very bones.
The thrilling brutal feeling of loneliness, of despair, of apprehension. The maze of shadowed corridors, the cheap curtains, the need to get onto the bed and hug that person you hold dear behind the nurses’ watchful eyes and everybody else’s backs.
The scene in the shower.
The flashbacks in the commune and OMG I hate flashbacks but here I drank them all as if they were all the water left in the desert. The red book in a foreign language. The dead bird. The tiny rabbits. The longing glances and the misguided regrets. The terrible past mistakes. The rejection and the denial. The self-inflicted pain. The defeat and the sense that there is no alternative possible. That there is no way out.
And the omelette being turned upside-down. And the sense that now, everything is possible. That there are oh-so-many doors to be opened. I just wasn’t paying attention.
And that “they” that indeed exists.
My Physics teacher was close to be a victim in a car accident. He said he imagined his body flying through the front glass and began making calculations in his head. The velocity, the kinetic energy turning into potential energy, taking into consideration the various forms of friction which would change the trajectory of his body.
I have mostly forgotten maths at this stage of my life.
But I keep thinking in other ways that aren’t exactly meant to be.
But they are there.
The non-said scenes.
Like the doctor looking at you in the eyes and saying “dialysis 3 times a week 4 hours each until there is a kidney available”. Going to that room full of sofas (or beds for those unable to sit) and connecting your measured “blood cleaner” tin directly to your vein-artery fistula. Young people usually choose the peritoneal dialysis, which gives an independency of sorts. Because spending so much time napping surrounded by strangers whose faces begin to seem familiar after a week or two is not something you really are looking forward to.
It’s not random it’s 3 times a week. It’s just the minimum of times you need your blood cleaned in order to function properly. It would be ideal going everyday. But nobody can bear that rhythm. Normally it’s a routine of Monday-Wednesday-Friday. Or a Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday if you don’t really care about wasting your weekend in the hospital.
Weekends are the worst, it’s a three-day skip instead of two. It’s when people break their diet (I met a nutritionist who was so badass he liked to ring his patients on Saturdays). There are more incidents on Sundays. People die on Sundays.
And Mondays usually mean a “penalty” of an extra hour with your blood circulating out of your body. Because you overstepped in that party with your friends, or you drank/ate something you weren’t supposed to ingest.
Depression is not unusual. Not because of this unforgiving routine, but also because your blood quality is not exactly the best.
At this stage everybody dreams with a kidney that is not theirs. And all the meds that that entails. In my country, the length of time spent in the waiting list is between 6 months and 6 years, the average being 2 years. And I’m talking about one of the global leaders in organ transplants.
It’s something I wish upon nobody on Earth. Just imagining this to happen to Sam makes my heart wrench. Just imagining this to happen to Xavi makes my heart wrench. Yes, I know life is not fair generally speaking, but they are so young, so full of possibilities, that the simple idea infuriates me to no end.
I loved the random-but-not-so-random display of kindness. They gave me hope. When a total stranger helps you because she knows someone helps her loved ones in a faraway place. When the unconditional love from the parents who had missed their son and couldn’t find a way to “find” him, to make him come back, envelops around the characters like a warm blanket. When Xavi didn’t resign himself to let Sam go, not when he leaves him behind, not when he comes to say goodbye, not when his flame is so close to be extinguished.
It’s a kind of magic. Having a meh book in your hands and suddenly, the Midas touch turning it into gold. Because this book really shines, with a light that gets stronger and stronger, and you can only think about holding it and listen to it crackle into the infinite.
It hurts but it heals.
This story is a Phoenix. Everything is doomed before starting. Everything is hopeless. The Phoenix dies. And the flame reawakens full force. This cleansing fire is so real it was close to be a lifelong experience.
Thank you for writing, Suki.
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***Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.***