Author: Jamie Kain
Synopsis: The Kinsey sisters live in an unconventional world. Their parents are former flower-children who still don’t believe in rules. Their small, Northern California town is filled with free spirits and damaged souls seeking refuge from the real world. Without the anchor of authority, the three girls are adrift and have only each other to rely on.
Rachel is wild. Asha is lost. Sarah, the good sister, is the glue that holds them together. But the forces of a mysterious fate have taken Sarah’s life in a sudden and puzzling accident, sending her already fractured family into a tailspin of grief and confusion. Asha has questions. Rachel has secrets. And Sarah, waking up in the afterlife, must piece together how she got there.
Huge thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin and Netgalley for this ARC!
I admit, I was pleasantly surprised with this book! The synopsis sounded up my alley, but at the time I requested this book there had been no reviews and I was a touch worried it was going to be very chick-lit-ish (which I can handle… in doses). This book is not what it seems on the surface, and for that, I appreciate it. It’s definitely one of the more realistic interpretations I’ve read of coping with grief.
Asha and Rachel lose their sister to cancer. Asha and Rachel go to opposite extremes to deal with their grief and emotions. This book is make of emotion explosions, and they are very, very frequent. Every character in this book is falling a part and struggling to piece themselves back together. Interestingly, their emotions are not just related to Sarah’s death because while Sarah was pegged “the good sister,” she has quite a bit of darkness herself. I actually adored how each sister’s secret was handled, and I like that Kain didn’t just hand said secrets over so easily. There’s a lot of build up, and each “secret” pairs well with each sister.
I generally hate reading from the perspective of a dead character looking down on their family (Yes, I am one of those people who didn’t like The Lovely Bones), but in this story having Sarah’s perspective worked so well because it felt like she was stuck in her own sort of limbo. Despite how “good” everyone thought she was, Sarah uses surprisingly aggressive adjectives to describe herself, and again, I loved how she is painted one way by her family and you also get that true side that no one truly got to uncover.
That being said, I did find Asha and Rachel so distant. It made complete sense why they were so distant towards the reader, but it definitely was difficult to connect with or sympathize with them entirely. That being said, can I just say how much I loved Sin? I thought he was a fabulous character, and I loved that while he was very protective of Asha, he didn’t always let her off the hook. Since Asha and Rachel also behave in extreme emotions in this novel, sometimes those emotions feel a touch overbearing, but I think it’s also very understandable as well. Dealing with death, grief and illness can be a challenge and everyone responses differently.
While this is another “cancer book,” I actually think this is one of the ones worth reading if simply because Kain does an amazing job providing realistic characters and struggles. While there’s a lot of extreme emotion, it’s not unrealistic in the slightest. There’s a really wonderful, tough story here, and it’s one that you simply can’t just power through.