This is one of those books that you might not like if you aren't as comfortable with ambiguous endings as I am. There was a moment, when I looked at the progress bar on the bottom of my Kindle, and thought, "How can I be THAT close to the end? How can this be resolved in that amount of space?"
The book deals with a very complicated, not easily resolved situation in a fairly short span of pages. It is written in first and second-person, as a sort of letter from Nell to her older sister, Layla, explaining what she experiences when she realizes the rumors about Layla having an affair with a teacher at school are true. Despite the subject matter, this is not a salacious book, nor does the second-person narration feel gimmicky. Instead, it presents a painfully accurate picture of a teen navigating the tension between being true to her sister and being true to her own sense of what's right and wrong; of that awkward place when the person you've always looked up to becomes the person you long to save; and most of all, how devastating it is to begin to lose something you thought would always be there.
The characterizations of Nell and Layla, as well as the other teens in the book, feel spot-on. A fair amount of threads are left only loosely tied at the end, but it left me feeling satisfied even as I experienced that sweet yearning for more that only a truly excellent book can inspire.
So I am actually VERY happy with the reading that I've done in June! It's been a crazy busy month, with moving and the wedding, but I've somehow managed to read 10 books, including 2 books that I hadn't actively planned to read and every single book on my June TBR list except for Where Angels Fear to Tread, and that's just because it's not in at my new library yet. And, even better, most of these books were really awesome! Great reading month.
I think that my favorite book this month would have to be We are the Goldens, with Treasure Island very close behind. If you haven't read We are the Goldens yet and you're a fan of YA literature, I highly recommend checking that out - it's very well-written and it was just published last month. I'd recommend Treasure Island to just about anyone. It's a great adventure story and a wonderful introduction to classic literature if you're new to it. The book that I struggled with the most this month was definitely The Art of Arranging Flowers, not because the book itself was bad, but because I received a really awful galley copy. I'm going to be revisiting the book in July once it comes to my library.
What were your favorite books this month? Have you read any of the books I read in June?
I have a soft spot for books featuring sisters.
It's true. I typically don't have many soft spots for anything at all besides dragons, but who doesn't, these days?
There's something solid and comforting about a good sister book. It reminds. It resonates.
There are so, so many YA books treating the experiences of romance and love, and that is all good and well. But the teenage years have their own challenges when it comes to familial relationships, too. Familiar things, things that have always been that way just because suddenly just aren't.
And that's why, I think, I felt so affected by this book.
Sisters Nell and Layla have grown up together with a bond so strong it is nearly physical, but freshman year for Nell is more different than she could have imagined. Layla has changed. And she's hiding something.
Nell's inner struggle and love for her sister really rang true. It was palpable. It was heartfelt. If you have ever loved somebody desperately enough that worry for them becomes part of yourself, then you will appreciate this book.
I would recommend this book especially to teen readers who are interested in heavier subjects and the contemporary sphere.
*note--I received an e-copy of this book through Netgalley from Random House Children's in exchange for honest feedback.