Sixteen-year-old Sarah can’t draw. This is a problem, because as long as she can remember, she has “done the art.” She thinks she’s having an existential crisis. And she might be right; she does keep running into past and future versions of herself as she wanders the urban ruins of Philadelphia. Or maybe she’s finally waking up to the tornado that is her family, the tornado that six years ago sent her once-beloved older brother flying across the country for a reason she can’t quite recall. After decades of staying together “for the kids” and building a family on a foundation of lies and domestic violence, Sarah’s parents have reached the end. Now Sarah must come to grips with years spent sleepwalking in the ruins of their toxic marriage. As Sarah herself often observes, nothing about her pain is remotely original—and yet it still hurts.
Buy it – Amazon
Ok this is the book that made me stop reading A.S. King’s novels.
I NEED AN EXPLANATION!
I think that I’m reading A.S. King’s books out of order. Every time I look at their Goodread’s pages, someone is yelling at me NOT to read this one first.
Well, I liked this cover the most so…
This is only my second A.S. King novel, and I’m realizing that family is probably very important to her. Family is never like…a thing in YA. Seems like in white stories, parents are often ignored, or treated as second class citizens in their own homes. The thing is, in most households, a parent or guardian is around. A.S. King gives them their own story.
These A.S. King books are teaching me how to write. Like damn bitch, thanks. This book was confusing as hell, but her ability to slowly reveal pivotal information? HER MIND.
As I said above, this book was confusing. So confusing, that I wasn’t really invested until page 156. And it wasn’t because of the out of order plot, it was because of the future and past Sarahs.
Were they actually there or a figment of Sarah’s imagination? When her mom went and got tacos with past Sara, I was confused. I… what?!?!?!? There were three different Sarahs in that house, and they all were going through different stages of her life, and ALL needed counseling.
This review is going to be VERY confusing if you haven’t read the book.
Was Sarah hallucinating?
I couldn’t figure out if Sarah was seeing things, or if this was actually happening. Then…Sarah’s brother sees them. Her brother is estranged, detached and has been out of the house for years. I couldn’t figure out how he’d also seen those there people? Then there were clues that she may have been hallucinating. Times during their family trip to Mexico where Sarah was talking to the water and fish, and her brother would tell her to stop. Flash forward? Her brother is talking to 10,23, and 40 year old versions of his 16 year old sister. I disliked how this was not discussed in depth, and I never really learned what the deal with that!
There was a specific line that I loved as well. I couldn’t find it so here’s a paraphrased quote -> “40 year old Sarah isn’t as judgmental as 23 year old Sarah. 23 year old Sarah thinks she’s better and looks down at 16 year old me.”
That’s a really rough paraphrase, but you get what I mean. That really slapped me in the face.
I do look down at my own teen self, and I’m realizing I need to appreciate where I was then. Without past Assia, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
Plot – 0 stars (wtf was going on?)
Setting – 1 Star (got a very good idea of Philly)
Characters – 1 Star!!! (I love her brother)
Writing – 1 Star
Diversity- 1 Star (all white people, and no concrete mention of mental illness, but I assumed. Deals with domestic abuse, and coping)