I started this last night before bed, not quite sure what to expect. The description on my book is extremely vague, and I was immediately put off by Austin's narration. The narration itself is so vague that he sounds as though he's about to commit suicide, which puts this disgusting knot in my stomach as I read what he says, although I know he probably has some terminal disease he hasn't told anyone about.
The problems so far:
1) 38 pages and Austin has already made visits with three different people. To say goodbye? To convince them in one conversation to change their lives? I'm not quite sure what his purpose is here. So far, this book paints anyone who has experienced tragedy as hermits, unable to move on in any positive way. I guess Austin is supposed to miraculously fix them in his 30-second conversations with them.
2) Austin is in love with his best friend, Kaylee. This itself does not put me off, but the fact that he's supposedly been in love with her since elementary school and he's chosen not to tell her because he loves having her as a friend. However, the way Austin thinks about Kaylee is overwhelming. He literally took a picture of her when she was sleeping. She gets out of bed in her pajamas and he keeps "that imagine in his head as he goes downstairs to wait" (10). He's constantly thinking about kissing her or touching her. He NEVER thinks about her as a friend, just some hot girl he wishes had feelings for him. Trust me, I've been in the position Austin is in. It sucks, but it's not IMPOSSIBLE to forget about having feelings for a friend long enough to just treat them like your best friend. It's just creepy.
3) He also doesn't treat Kaylee very well. I get that he's going through some secret something-or-other, but he expects her to do whatever he asks her to. So far, she's literally just driving him around. Every time she asks, "Can I come in with you?" when they go to someone's house, he just gives her a look and tells her that he needs to do this by himself. She's spent the whole book waiting in the car. She serves NO PURPOSE at this point except for Austin to have his thoughts about her when they're driving and to introduce the characters he's going to see. "I want to see so-and-so." "But you haven't seen so-and-so since this tragic thing happened!"
4) I hate present tense writing so much. I thought maybe as I got older and read more books written in present tense, my hatred for it would ebb a little bit. Not so.