What do you think?
Rate this book
242 pages, Kindle Edition
First published May 13, 2014
Once upon a time there were three bears who lived in a wee house in the woods.It was a better coming of age than Catcher in the Rye, but I also thought Twilight was a better coming-of-age than Catcher in the Rye (fuck you, Holden Caulfield). It wasn't a terrible book. I've read far worse. It's just that the writing style sometimes get on my nerves. The sentences are sometimes written fully, and oftentimes
Once upon a time there were three billy goats who lived near a bridge.
Once upon a time there were three soldiers, tramping together down the roads after the war.
Once upon a time there were three little pigs.
Once upon a time there were three brothers.
No, this is it. This is the variation I want.
My full name is Cadence Sinclair Eastman.Poor little Cadence Sinclair is wealthy. She is loved. She is one of the Sinclairs, a good-looking "old-money Democrat" family, think the Kennedys, without the political aspirations. They have names like Liberty, Taft, and Tipper. They go to Ivy League schools. They have trust funds. They have sired a generation of children, the leader of which is Cadence. Cadence and her crew call themselves "The Liars." The Liars are composed of her cousins Mirren, Johnny, and the outcast "Healthcliff," Indian love interest, Gat.
I am nearly eighteen.
I used to be blond, but now my hair is black.
I used to be strong, but now I am weak.
I used to be pretty, but now I look sick.
It is true I suffer migraines since my accident.
It is true I do not suffer fools.
It’s a beautiful night, and we are indeed a beautiful family.This is the story about a girl's headaches.
I do not know what changed.
Why did I go into the water alone at night?This is a story about The Liars. And their spectacularly brilliant conversations for the entire fucking summer.
Where were my clothes?
Did I really have a head injury from the swim, or did something else happen?
They have baby oil spread on their bodies. Two bottles of it lie on the grass. “Aren’t you afraid you’ll get burned?” I ask.They're not the only ones bored out of their mind.
“I don’t believe in sunblock anymore,” says Johnny.
“He’s decided the scientists are corrupt and the whole sunblock industry is a moneymaking fraud,” says Mirren.
“Have you ever seen sun poisoning?” I ask. “The skin literally bubbles.”
“It’s a dumb idea,” says Mirren. “We’re just bored out of our minds, that’s all.”
I plunge down,I really have a problem with the writing, but this is just a matter of taste. But then again, I've never been a fan of this type of prose. Needless to say, I don't like e.e. cummings. The writing is so often choppy, haphazardly punctuated. The first-person narrator also has a tendency to use very, very dramatic imagery to describe situations. Some situations are false.
down to rocky rocky bottom, and
I can see the base of Beechwood Island and
my arms and legs feel numb but my fingers are cold. Slices
of seaweed go past as I fall.
And then I am up again, and breathing.
my head is okay,
no one needs to cry for me or worry about me.
I am fine,
I am alive.
I swim to shore.
Then he pulled out a handgun and shot me in the chest. I was standing on the lawn and I fell. The bullet hole opened wide and my heart rolled out of my rib cage and down into a flower bed. Blood gushed rhythmically from my open wound,That, there, was a description of how she FELT. It confused me as fuck until I realized that she didn't actually get hurt, which made it even more confusing when she did actually hurt herself.
then from my eyes,
Every time Gat said these things, so casual and truthful, so oblivious—my veins opened. My wrists split. I bled down my palms. I went light-headed.I thought that was her being overdramatic again, until I realized that the guy was fucking bandaging her up afterwards.
A witch has been standing there behind me for some time, waiting for a moment of weakness. She holds an ivory statue of a goose. It is intricately carved. I turn and admire it only for a moment before she swings it with shocking force. It connects, crushing a hole in my forehead. I can feel my bone come loose. The witch swings the statue again and hits above my right ear, smashing my skull. Blow after blow she lands, until tiny flakes of bone litter the bed and mingle with chipped bits of her once-beautiful goose.That entire passage is one of many throughout the book about her headaches. I just couldn't take it.
“You’re filled with superiority, aren’t you? You think you understand the world so much better than I do. I’ve heard Gat talking. I’ve seen you eating up his words like ice cream off a spoon. But you haven’t paid bills, you haven’t had a family, owned property, seen the world. You have no idea what you’re talking about, and yet you do nothing but pass judgment.”Poor-little-rich-girl syndrome. She's beautiful, but wounded, and "mysterious" and revered, just for the sake of her blood alone, for the sake of her family's name alone. Think about it. If you were a Kennedy, it doesn't matter if you look like an elephant stepped on your head when you were born. People are still going to love you and worship you and whisper your name with reverence because you're a motherfucking Kennedy. It's this way with the Sinclairs, only there's no paparazzi following them around. All of the benefits, and no family curse. But somehow Cadence finds a way to be a rebel-without-a-cause anyway.
One night, the four of us ate a picnic down on the tiny beach. Steamed clams, potatoes, and sweet corn. The staff made it. I didn’t know their names.I'm sorry, but I can't sympathize with such a whiny person who's completely unaware of how privileged she is, headaches be damned.
“Who are Ginny and Paulo?”The Love Interest:
Gat hits his fist into his palm. “Ginny is the housekeeper. Paulo is the gardener. You don’t know their names and they’ve worked here summer after summer. That’s part of my point.”
My face heats with shame. “I’m sorry.”
“You’re saying Granddad thinks you’re Heathcliff?”Gat is the only interesting character in the book. He is Indian-American. Gat Patil. He is the nephew of her aunt's boyfriend, and they've known each other for years. He is self-aware. Too self-aware in the pretentious way that teenagers can often be, but his character feels authentically teenaged. I liked him. He is accepted into The Liars, but he's not altogether accepted in the family. Because of his skin color, because of his lack of family money, he feels left out. And I can sympathize with him.
“I promise you, he does,” says Gat. “A brute beneath a pleasant surface, betraying his kindness in letting me come to his sheltered island every year—I’ve betrayed him by seducing his Catherine, his Cadence. And my penance is to become the monster he always saw in me.”
“I’m not saying he wants to be the guy who only likes white people,” Gat went on. “He knows he’s not supposed to be that guy. He’s a Democrat, he voted for Obama—but that doesn’t mean he’s comfortable having people of color in his beautiful family.”Gat is intelligent. Reasonable. Likeable. And I wonder why the fuck he cares about a waste of air like Cadence.
Welcome to the beautiful Sinclair family.
No one is a criminal.
No one is an addict.
No one is a failure.
The Sinclairs are athletic, tall and handsome.
"So lie. Tell him the ones from the Boston house. The cream ones with the embroidery."
It was easiest to tell her I would.
And later, I told her I had.
But Bess has asked Mirren to do the same thing,
and neither one of us
for the fucking tablecloths.
He was contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee. I could have looked at him forever.and this:
The universe was good because he was in it.AND THIS!
I wanted to touch him like he was a bunny, a kitten, something so special and soft your fingertips can’t leave it alone.Gag. Her talking about love nearly made me put the book down.
- this book has an unreliable narrator and you cant trust anything she tells you.
- this story has such deep secrets, even its secrets have secrets.
- this novel has a twist that you wont see coming, but you will try to convince yourself that you did.
What if we could somehow stop being the Beautiful Sinclair Family and just be a family? What if we could stop being different colors , different backgrounds, and just be in love?
She made me act normal. Because I was. Because I could. She told me to breathe and sit up.
Someone once wrote that a novel should deliver a series of small astonishments. I get the same thing spending an hour with you.
The universe is seeming really huge right now,” he told me. “I need something to hold on to.
“Be a little kinder than you have to.”
“Do not accept an evil you can change.”
“Always do what you're afraid to do.”