**spoiler alert** Decided to stop reading this after 64 pages. It's a depressing read, with the prose too young-YA for my taste. My attention just isn**spoiler alert** Decided to stop reading this after 64 pages. It's a depressing read, with the prose too young-YA for my taste. My attention just isn't being held, not with the way the narrator, Mia, cuts in and out of the present to throw in snippets about the past: meeting and dating her boyfriend, Adam; becoming friends with Kim; etc. Right after reading the part about Mia "playing Adam like a cello" and Adam "playing Mia like a guitar", I was slightly weirded out and decided that this book isn't for me. I can't make myself care about what happens to any of the characters.
I might be okay with seeing the movie, but my interest in reading this series is gone. ...more
**spoiler alert** This is a hard book to rate. I'd probably stay 3.5 stars, or so, but not quite 4. The novel overall was kind of strange reading, str**spoiler alert** This is a hard book to rate. I'd probably stay 3.5 stars, or so, but not quite 4. The novel overall was kind of strange reading, strange in a fairly "good" way.
The story is told from the first person POV of an unnamed narrator (all you really know about his name is that both his first and last name start with "G", so at times I couldn't help but wonder if the author had "written himself" into the story that way), a teenage boy, through a series of varying in lengths titled chapters. Where he lives is never stated, but since places NYC and Rochester, NY are mentioned, I would guess that it's either a small town somewhere on Long Island or a small town an hour or so from NYC, probably fictional. It's a nowhere kind of small town, one that, as the narrator states in the first chapter, people don't move to. Yet Anna and her family do move there just before the narrator's sophomore year of high school starts.
The novel is about the growing love story between "G" and Anna, how deep their connection is/was, as friends and lovers, yet it is also about just how shallow their connection is/was. As they grow closer together, there are plenty of unanswered questions that Anna never explains, often telling the narrator that the best kind of mystery is the one that's never solved, the one that leaves puzzles and clues always has someone searching for the solution (but never quite finding it).
The novel is also about loss and grief, and secrets and puzzles and a mystery that may never be solved at its heart. The narrator gives us plenty of clues but he doesn't tell us everything. It may be a simple matter of interpreting facts differently, or having a different perspective. In some ways, I believe the narrator was too close to the action, too close to Anna, to look too deeply into all the little subtle clues preceding her disappearance. At first he really wanted nothing more than to reconnect to her, first physically and then through their special code, but he couldn't help but wonder if everything between them, everything she had told him, was just a lie, a deception.
My interpretation of Anna's behavior:
The car accident with Bryce: Anna was supposedly driving and left the scene. I think she was a passenger and might have caused Bryce to crash after he came on to her or tried to pressure her into sleeping with him. It makes more sense for her to flee the scene if she was a passenger, and it also explains the bruises.
Anna's father was hitting her or abusing her, which is why is had marks and the bruises on her face and neck and shoulders (other than the time of the car accident). Anna tells "G" that her father was a repo man who once pulled another man's arm out of his socket. And then there was the incident with the ladder while hooking up "G"'s shortwave. Anna may have been afraid of her father and had been planning her escape from him. This may also explain why she was cutting herself, and why she became a Goth in the first place—a way to bury her past and hide or change herself into someone fierce.
Why Anna hates Mr. Devon: Obviously, Mr. Devon has some lecherous thing for teenage/younger girls. Mr. Devon and Anna may have started out as flirtatious friends (maybe similar to what Bryce and Anna had, if there was ever anything), or maybe Mr. Devon's attention for Anna was one-sided. (Remember, when he gave "G" and Anna a ride, he took "G" home first, though it made more sense to take Anna home first.) They might have shared the art book, and the letter Anna sent to him about "how to draw a bunny", but then something changed and it got too much for Anna to handle. So when she dug about the dirt about his former girlfriend, how she apparently killed herself and tried to kill Mr. Devon too, she couldn't resist turning it around on him and also throwing in that he took up with a former student.
Anna's escape/death/disappearance. In this, maybe it's cheesy, but I want to believe what she wrote in "G"'s obit, that that's a future that may come to pass. And, in a way, I believe in "G"'s interpretation, that Anna's sudden disappearance, all the secrets and questions she left behind, was a way to prepare "G" to hightail it out of town. A way to sever all ties (like she did) and go away somewhere else and start over anew.
I liked the novel but I didn't love it, yet I sort of want to read it again and see if there was something I missed. ...more