Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn’t look at her like she might break down at any moment. Now she’s just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that’s all she’ll ever be. As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there’s a secret she hasn’t told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.
Lex’s brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn’t have to be real to keep you from moving on.
Huge thank you to Harper Teen and Edelweiss for this ARC!
To be honest when I started reading this I’d actually forgotten what it was about. I’d just downloaded it off EW with a bunch of other ARCs and put it on my list. Well, I’m really glad that I read it. I’ve always loved books that deal with suicide because I think that they’re very important books. But I wasn’t expecting this.
This is my first book by Cynthia Hand, and I was very impressed with her writing. It felt very solid and tight and flowed really well. I was reading this book on my iPhone at work most of the time and I kept having trouble finding a place to stop and getting really upset when I DID have to stop because my break was over. I found myself wanting to go back to it, wanting to figure things out.
I loved Lexi’s voice. She was smart and sassy and just the right amount of sad. I always felt so bad for her and her family, but I never felt like she was unrealistic. I loved how nerdy she was, how apologetic she was about herself, her interests, her dreams. The whole MIT thing was amusing to me because my husband goes there and I work at the MIT bookstore.
Lexi’s relationship with her mother, her friends (old and new) and her father were all complex and interesting. I know what it’s like to lose friends because you just can’t function normally at the time and how they can have trouble knowing how to connect with you. I loved that Lexi told her mom off at one point. I was really worried it was going to turn into another ‘nonfunctional parent guilting their college-bound child into foregoing their dreams to stay home and take care of them’ story (which I’ve seen a lot of recently) but thankfully it didn’t turn out that way.
The only things that really didn’t work well for me were the ghost aspect and the second suicide. I could never figure out what was the point of the ghost. Was it a real ghost? Was it just their imagination? I guess it was explained but for a good portion of the time I kept thinking that this was going to turn supernatural on me. So I wasn’t sure about that. And the second suicide… I just didn’t think it was necessary, and I thought that it was going to go all THE PROGRAM on me, especially when Lexi started to quote suicide statistics (I really thought that a mystery was going to pop up and she was going to solve it or something).
The author’s note at the end really got to me thought. And I think it’s…I don’t even have a word. But she shared her personal story with us and that took guts.
If you enjoyed All the Bright Places, which was a fave of mine, and just came out, then you’ll also love this. Put it on your TBR!!!