About the book: Karen was just an unassuming straight-A student in linguistics when she met Biba. She was finishing her senior year, and though she ha...moreAbout the book: Karen was just an unassuming straight-A student in linguistics when she met Biba. She was finishing her senior year, and though she had the same roommates through college, she didn't feel like they were really friends. Meeting Biba seemed to be fate, as Biba was posting an ad for a German tutor when Karen happened to come upon her. She was immediately entranced. Biba hired her and invited her to a party at her house.
Biba was an aspiring actress and lived a carefree life with her brother, Rex, in a rundown house in Highgate. The house had had a variety of tenants and Karen was soon to become it's latest. Their lifestyle was so foreign to the one that Karen knew that she couldn't help but embrace it in her desire to belong. She had never had a friend like Biba and felt alive in her presence. Her dad had told her she needed at leasst one summer to not work and enjoy herself before she started her "life". Little did she know that this last summer would effect her life and her choices in ways that she never could have dreamed.
The story starts out with Karen picking up Rex as he is released from prison. They are going to try to make a go of it with their 9 year old daughter Alice. Secrets and choices are immediately alluded to as Karen tries to protect Alice from the secrets that sent Rex to prison as well as one secret that only Karen seems to know.
We learn all about Karen, Rex and Biba through flashbacks that take you through the last summer they were all together. That carefree summer living in Highgate. Karen learns that Rex and Biba have had a troubled childhood marked with suicide and abandonment. The two of them are very close and Rex protects his sister with a fierceness that rivals a mama bear. Somewhere along the way, with the beer and drugs and sex, Karen and Rex fall into an unlikely relationship. Some rash decisions made by all change all their lives.
My thoughts: This book was a wonderful debut by Erin Kelly. The flashbacks unfold with just the right speed and the groundwork is laid out for a surprising ending that I didn't see coming. The London setting and surrounding areas are perfect and the author does a good job of making you feel like you are there (not that I have ever been - but it is definitely as I imagined it). She weaves the story around these three to the point where one is inseparable from the other. Every choice and decision that was made lead to the inevitable conclusion. Great story! Highly recommended! (less)
About the Book: Ever since moving after the fifth grade, Cara has had a hard time making friends. She had left behind Zoe, the only friend she had eve...moreAbout the Book: Ever since moving after the fifth grade, Cara has had a hard time making friends. She had left behind Zoe, the only friend she had ever really had. She and Zoe had done everything together - and had gotten into some trouble, too.
Cara was now 16 and didn't feel like she belonged with any of the groups in her high school. She sort of hung out with a group of track girls, but only because she was on the track team - she really didn't feel like she was friends with them. Her current crush, Ethan, was also on the track team, but he was Alexis' boyfriend - blonde, beautiful (and bitchy) Alexis. The one who was never nice to Cara. This situation became worse when Cara choked on a carrot at lunch and Ethan saved her with the Heimlich. Alexis started calling her Choker in a pretty derogatory manner, as did Alexis' friends. Cara was missing her friend Zoe more than ever.
Cara spent much of her time at home alone as well. Her parents were both busy lawyers and worked 70 hour weeks, so when Zoe shows up one day and hides in Cara's bedroom, they are not even aware that she is around. Zoe tells Cara that her stepfather is still abusing her and that she has run away and needs some place to hide. Cara is ecstatic as she hasn't seen Zoe in years. She just knows that now things are going to be better. It isn't long before she finds that she has more confidence around others and she is even speaking to Ethan. However, it seems that bad things follow Zoe also.
Sydney, Alexis' best friend and Cara's next door neighbor, drowns in her backyard pool and the day of the funeral, Alexis goes missing. Cara is so caught up with her new friendship with Ethan and some of the girls on the track team that she starts to despise Zoe and the fact that she has to keep her hidden in her bedroom.
My thoughts: I really enjoyed reading this one and had it finished within a day. I felt sorry for Cara as it seemed like her parents were more invested in their work than in her, so when Zoe showed up I was glad for her - even if Zoe did appear a little quirky. This was a very quick moving psychological thriller and even though the end was predictable, it was still a fun read!
I read this for the TuesBookTalk Read-a-Longs at Goodreads. I have been part of this group forever but this is only the second book that I have read "...moreI read this for the TuesBookTalk Read-a-Longs at Goodreads. I have been part of this group forever but this is only the second book that I have read "with" them - or as much with them as I can. This was the December book and I just finished it last night. I must say though, that this was a great book to read in December.
While it is Lou's story, it is actually being related to a young boy who has gotten in trouble and is waiting for his mom to pick him up from the police station. I would get so engrossed in the story that when they would go back to the police officer telling the story it was like - "oh yeah - I forgot about them!"
I felt a little sorry for Lou, especially in the beginning. He had such little will power in certain situations, and even though he thought he was in control, I think the situations were really controlling him. He didn't even understand his own motivations toward Gabe when he gave him the coffee and offered him the job. He quickly resented Gabe when he felt like Gabe was getting attention and praise that he deserved, but at the same time he came to feel that Gabe was one of the few people that he could trust. You see, Gabe gave him a pill that allowed him to be in two places at once - so he was able to attend two important meetings, staying out late with one of them, but also going home after the other one and tending to a sick wife and daughter. Even though he didn't understand how that was possible, he didn't question the accolades that he received on his accomplishments at the two meetings. It wasn't until later that he began to appreciate the time that he had been able to spend with his family while he was "split".
This was a really good book with a good lesson about the gift of time, and spending it with those that really matter. But first you have to decide what it is that really matters to you.