Tarissa's Reviews > October

October by J. Grace Pennington
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it was amazing

I am genuinely intrigued by J. Grace Pennington's new novel. Why? It's heavy on the emotion, and it's thrilling; I sensed the intensity of it all throughout the story. The feelings go deep, the plot deals with modern issues, and overall, the message is honest. I felt right up close and personal to the story, as if the characters were my friends, their problems mine.

It's the kind of book where I didn't want to put it down for later, even when I had to. It starts out delightfully – with the beginnings of a fresh friendship. 17-year-old Emily Baxter meets the new girl in town, October Blake. The weeks tick by rather beautifully as these two girls get to know each other and have a few adventures, just spending time creating memories. For me, the intensity of the drama (while subtle and perhaps just found in quiet conversation) kept increasing as the chapters unfolded. As lovely as the friendship was coming along, I felt that the plot was heading somewhere else – somewhere that I as the reader didn't know yet, and neither did Emily. But I just couldn't wait to find out what the secret was – good or bad.

Tobi (October) herself seems to have so many dream-like qualities akin to Anne Shirley. I wanted to be her friend just as much as Emily wanted to. “This girl seemed more fitted to lilac and lace and the smell of old books with long, beautiful words in them.” And even better, when she was asked about her favorite authors, I found that our hearts beat as one on that topic. She comes across as a strong female, yet with vulnerabilities, a true-to-life person.

I connected really well with Emily's character too. She's a high-schooler, eager to make a new acquaintance even though it means putting herself out on the line a bit. Emily has a fun curiosity about her, aroused when this interesting girl named October enters the picture. She's ready to give this friendship her all, and from my point of view, these girls have something more precious than a friend in each other. It seems to me that they form a solid sisterhood, which is definitely my favorite element in the book.

Then there's Jax, Emily's cousin and loyal friend. Their bond is so strong too, like they're always going to be together, fighting their way through life by each other's side. One of my favorite passages, where Emily is thinking about him, since she knows him so well: “I had known Jax my whole life. I could tell what each of his different silences meant.” He's a good-natured gentleman and a reliable comrade.

Some of the topics in the story include self-harm, depression, and may be hinting at other mental disorders. The story is woven very well around these topics, while keeping God in the story. What the book definitely brings out is that the family and friends you know may be different on the inside than the image they project to the world around them.

This is “clean” fiction; teens especially will like this book, and adults will enjoy it too. It has well-written faith content in it, and I'm so happy that it has Christian undertones all throughout the plot, especially when dealing with the heavier and perhaps grim topics.

Overall? I am impressed by Pennington's October. This one seems like a story really close to the author's heart, and the reader can definitely feel it.

P.S. Oh, and the ending really got me good, stunned me a bit. Like the classic mystery ending of My Cousin Rachel.
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Reading Progress

October 23, 2017 – Started Reading
October 23, 2017 – Shelved
October 25, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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Kelsey Bryant I'm looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for the thorough review! You whetted my appetite even more.

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