**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
**spoiler alert** I rate this about 3.5 stars. Overall, I enjoyed reading this. It was a good suspense with a decent mystery attached, and even though**spoiler alert** I rate this about 3.5 stars. Overall, I enjoyed reading this. It was a good suspense with a decent mystery attached, and even though it was a book in a series, it almost read as a stand-alone, not making a ton of references to characters or situations from other books in the series, so it was almost straightforward and easy to follow in that respect.
After being hinted at constantly throughout the whole book, the lost memory/identity of the serial killer seemed close to being revealed at the last 150 or so pages, so I actually spent a good chunk of hours reading to finish the book because I just wanted know, finally, what had happened. I was shocked by the memory, not because it was overly graphic but just by the reveal itself—the entire plot seems centered around Jessie's return to Baron Hollow, so why would the reader expect any other memory than her own to be uncovered? But what I found even more shocking was what happened to Jessie. I wasn't expecting her to be murdered. And since I don't know all that much about this series, I can't say for sure if she was more of a minor character or if this was "her" series. (I guess it couldn't have been if she died.)
I think the author did a good job with throwing suspicion on one character for the majority of the book and then kept the reader guessing till practically the end of the identity of the serial killer. Still, I wish there would have been a bit more in the last few chapters, maybe about the victims, or even with what Emma might do now—for example, will she join Haven now, less to take Jessie's place and more just to develop her own presumed psychic abilities and to leave Baron Hollow's unpleasantness for good? I had hoped that the identity of the spirit wearing the outdated winter clothing would be revealed, or that we'd even see a little more of her, since apparently Hollis Templeton and Nathan Navarro could both see her. I also hoped Emma and Jessie would have been able to reconnect, but maybe, in a way, they did. It would have been nice also to learn a little more about Dan and his rose tattoo and why he was so twisted and evil (if there was a reason at all).
I also wished there had been a little more with Nellie, since she seemed like an interesting character, not the sort of throwaway that I initially thought of her, just being another casual lover to apparently-still-a-stud-well-into-his-adulthood Victor. It would have been nice to see her investigative journalistic skills in action, rather than just hearing about it much later that she talked to people or had info faxed to her.
Other than a sufficient lack of closure, I wasn't really fond of the author's choice of telling things too often rather than showing them. For a good example—Jessie's sudden death. We get that in one sentence from Emma's perspective, merely telling Nathan (and the audience) that Jessie is dead. Reading it, I had a lot of "WAIT, WHAT??" moments, even skipping ahead to confirm that Jessie was indeed dead. The only other thing that bothered me was the cliche of female victims, even strong women. Carol Preston, and later, Jessie Rayburn, were both women who seemed to know how to take care of themselves. Yet, they were overpowered easily and apparently psychologically tortured before being physically tortured, and then just offed. And then there was Nellie at the end, almost attacked and killed, but is rescued by Nathan. There were also references to Hollis, a petite, frail looking woman (also a SCU agent), confronting killers by herself, but without meaning to.
I don't know what it is with these types of series that always make women, and seemingly only women, out of to be victims, even the strongest women who are FBI agents or such. It's gross and sexist. Men are villains or heroes, but only women are victims.
Anyway, I think I may try another book in this series, just for the idea that is sort of unique—harnessing psychics to be private investigators and FBI agents for the "special" kinds of crimes that require a special kind of investigative style.