I have been avoiding this review because I’m not exactly sure what to say. I typically like to write a review immediately after I finish a novel because everything is still fresh in my mind, but I finished this book in July and I’ve still not written a review. It’s because this book is so far out of my normal range that I don’t know where to start. I typically have 2 basic things I need in a book, I need it to have some form of a love story and I need humor. Life is dull and depressing so I want something that will make me laugh and leave me smiling. This book is the opposite of that. There is not humor in it at all and though there is love, it’s not the kind I normally go for. I’m still not sure what made me want to read this besides the fact that it’s up on PulseIt. Maybe it’s how the cover model looks so alone and hauntingly sad.
Ellie was a troubled girl who just wanted to have fun. Fun, by her definition, included drinking, partying, drugs, sex, and many other most likely illegal activities. This leaves Ellie dead and her best friend, Sarah, in the hospital. This story follows Ellie’s brother, best friend, and best friends sister as they try to come to terms with her death. As you can see by that tiny summary, it’s very depressing. Sarah is in weekly therapy and still can’t manage to deal with Elle’s death. Jessie (Sarah’s sister) is just going through the motions, living and trying to hold it all together but really is dying on the inside. Jake, Ellie’s brother, is failing college because he can’t stop blaming himself for what happened. The big question on everyone’s mind is “was it intentional?” That question never gets outright answered, but it is implied over and over that Ellie’s death was suicide.
So, if this novel contains none of the things that I love, why does it get 4 stars? I think it’s because it touched me in ways I wasn’t expecting. I can completely relate to all the characters, from Ellie who was abused to Sarah and Jessie who don’t know how to cope with loss, and to Jake for blaming himself for something he thinks he could have prevented. They all go through real emotional struggles and the author does not pretend that these things can be fixed with a few brief psych visits and the support of your family. Yes, that does help, but it is not always enough. How do you cope with the fact that your best friend is dead? Your sister? Your lover? How are you supposed to go on living when nothing is right anymore? It was an emotional journey and I just can’t put into words how it has affected me. If you are looking for something that will really move you and make you think, this is it. A word of warning though, this does contain homosexuality. It doesn’t bother me, but i know it does bother some.