I can't believe this is a debut novel. Seriously this is good stuff! BUT here I am wondering, how I to write a review. Why do I find the good books so hard to review?
The story line is in some ways unrealistic. The whole situation of Nate is totally unrealistic. BUT Fletcher wrote this in a way that I honestly didn't care about it. The thing is the way Hanley reacted would have been very much how I would have reacted at her age. Lots of people who didn't like the book had issued with the dude in the garage... which made me stop and think about it. And you know what? I was one of those teens that snuck out, that blocked my family out and was up to stuff I knew were bad choice- and I wouldn't have told on him. Because it would have felt wrong? A wrong sense of rebel loyalty? I asked le DH what he would have done. He said the same thing.
Would I encourage that now? HELL NO!
The reasons why I was so blase about that potentially dangerous situation are two. I am from a small town in Switzerland, you don't think a stranger is an ax-murderer, simply because criminals are far and few between in Heidiland. So the reactions of several other reviewers made me pause and honestly realise they are right, but it wasn't my experience so it simply didn't occure to me. (I should know better, since I have lived in many places and other countries, non of which were as safe as my home town, current one included). The second reason being, that I got caught up in the character building. And we all know what a sucker I am for character driven novels...
The character building is what made this a really wonderful read for me. I could totally identify with Hanley, saw many behavior patterns I had in her. Nate was mysterious and cute - I simply adore him. And I would have so gone for him as a teeny.
I loved the romance part, it's subtle and way more realistic than the insta-love that gets thrown around so often these days.
The support cast was also quite good. I really liked how one's perception of people changed as Hanley's view of them got broadened.
I love how the characters did evolve and change, and essentially do some growing up.
I think this is a strong strong story about grief, accepting each other flaws, reaching out and building stronger relationships. It's full of anger, angst, secrets and silly teenage behavior- but for me that rang through, simply because I was like that.
I enjoyed Fletcher's prose. The story was well paced and so well written, that I read this in one sitting.
Though the year has just begun - I know this is one of my favorite for 2014. It's a book that reminded me of The Sea ofTranquility and The Silent Swan. A beautiful YA contemporary!