February 21st 2017
Wendy Lamb Books
Life ahead: Proceed with caution.
Sixteen year old Petula De Wilde is anything but wild. A family tragedy has made her shut herself off from the world. Once a crafting fiend with a happy life, Petula now sees danger in everything, from airplanes to ground beef. The worst part of her week is her comically lame mandatory art therapy class. She has nothing in common with this small band of teenage misfits, except that they all carry their own burden of guilt. When Jacob joins their ranks, he seems so normal and confident. Petula wants nothing to do with him, or his prosthetic arm. But when they're forced to collaborate on a school project, she slowly opens up, and he inspires her to face her fears. Until a hidden truth threatens to derail everything.
*I received a copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Cover- I don't mind the cover but I don't love it either. I like the patterns around the border and how the title looks as though it's been sown on. It really stands out and is really bold but I think my main problem with it is the skulls across the middle, they sort of ruin it a bit although I understand why they are there and the cover would be a bit boring without them. It's an okay cover.
Plot- I absolutely adored this book. I'd heard a lot of hype surrounding it on the book blogging community but I'd also heard mixed reviews so I didn't go into it with very high expectations. I also went into this book quite blind as I hadn't even read the blurb or anything as I wanted to get the full experience without any prior knowledge but I was so pleasantly surprised! The ideas behind this book are so beautiful and the message it portrays is also. It's about dealing with grief and learning to be less pessimistic and cynical about the world. I read this so quickly because I just couldn't put it down. There are some honestly unpredictable plot twists that I was so shocked by and the whole story just kind of broke my heart but it was such a well developed and explained plot and I just can't rave about it enough.
Characters- Every single character in this book had so much depth to them, even the side characters were so developed and had their own personality traits that were unique and individual and made you fall completely in love with them. You learn about all their back stories and get to know why they are all the way they are. The main character Petula was so witty and funny despite her grief and I loved her transformation throughout the book with Jacob's help to be less afraid of the world. Jacob was just adorable. He was so broken but stayed upbeat and tried to help everyone around him. I loved him so much and the connection he had with Petula made their relationships one of my favourites, they had so much chemistry!
Writing- Although you only hear from Petula's point of view in this book, it didn't feel as though I wasn't getting the only perspectives of the story, as the amazing writing allowed me to feel connected to all the characters and understand how they are feeling without hearing from them directly. I will read anything Susin writes purely because of how great the writing was.
Overall- I would definitely recommend this if you're looking to be amused but also heart-broken and connect with so many characters on so many different levels. I would warn however the content may be triggering for some so just be aware of this if you are easily affected by grief and OCD stories.