Genre: Young Adult/Fiction/Mystery
Similar Writings: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, The F**k It List by Julie Halpern, Wrecked by E. R. Frank
Plot: Sophie Winters nearly died. Twice.
The first time, she’s fourteen, and escapes a near-fatal car accident with scars, a bum leg, and an addiction to Oxy that’ll take years to kick.
The second time, she’s seventeen, and it’s no accident. Sophie and her best friend Mina are confronted by a masked man in the woods. Sophie survives, but Mina is not so lucky. When the cops deem Mina’s murder a drug deal gone wrong, casting partial blame on Sophie, no one will believe the truth: Sophie has been clean for months, and it was Mina who led her into the woods that night for a meeting shrouded in mystery.
After a forced stint in rehab, Sophie returns home to a chilly new reality. Mina’s brother won’t speak to her, her parents fear she’ll relapse, old friends have become enemies, and Sophie has to learn how to live without her other half. To make matters worse, no one is looking in the right places and Sophie must search for Mina’s murderer on her own. But with every step, Sophie comes closer to revealing all: about herself, about Mina and about the secret they shared.
THIS. This is exactly what I have been looking for in a book. Something that will bring me back to my young and innocent adolescent days. Something that makes me feel guilty for putting the book down, even if it was just for a moment. Something…where the plot and the writing are FANTASTIC. I started reading this book expecting a similar story to many other YA books I have read, but what I got, was pleasantly surprising.
This story takes us through flashbacks and present day surrounding our main character Sophie, her past and present of being an addict, and the murder of her best friend Mina. Not only do we realize fairly quickly that Sophie is accident prone and fantastic at “cheating” death; we learn that she and her friend were attacked by a man in a mask and it resulted in her best friend being shot and killed. Unfortunately for Sophie, due to her past drug use, everyone including her parents believe that the reason Mina was murdered was because Sophie was trying to score drugs. Now, after just being released out of rehab, Sophie is on a mission to find out who really killed the closest person to her. But unbeknownst to the eye, there is more than just a murder mystery surrounding Mina and Sophie.
It’s surprising to find out that this is the first book from author Tess Sharpe, because MAN can that woman write! The creative writing junkie inside me was literally on one (ha ha ha) the entire time I was reading. Not only did I read this in less than four hours, but I was just emotionally blown away with the way the author writes. She is fantastic at diving into serious emotions and describing them with a wonderful and simplistic poetic style. I was absolutely swooning at how she compiled her characters thoughts and dialogue, I felt like I knew these people inside and out.
“Later, I stare at his face in the moonlight and wonder if he can tell I kissed him like I already know the shape of his lips. Like I’ve mapped them in my mind, in another life. Learned them from another person who shared his eyes and nose and mouth, but who is never coming back.”
Not only is this book just bleeding of sorrow and pain and heartbreak, but it takes a spin to a place I wasn’t expecting at all. Not only is there a combination of Young Adult and Teen drama, there is a mystery throughout the story and an even bigger issue than what the reader might think is the most obvious. I am NOT going into ANY kind of depth about what I may or may not be talking about here, this is one thing that cannot be spoiled. That would be incredibly cruel to you and the story.
I think the author did a fairly decent job of capturing the multiple angles of addiction. I was very happy that she put light on the fact that even after an addict becomes clean, they will always be an addict to themselves and most times to everyone else as well. Not only does the reader follow Sophie through her grueling quest to become clean, but we see the aftereffects of it as well. Day by day she has to remind herself of how long she has been clean, as a means to keep her strong, especially when everyone around her believes that she was the reason for Mina’s death. I think the author truly tackled the life and events of an addict by showing that even after Sophie was clean, everyone around her still expected her to relapse and fail. I think moments like this in the story is when the reader will really connect and hurt with Sophie.
“My dad grabs me around the waist, breaking my hold, and lifts me over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry. It’s gentle, Dad is always gentle with me, like how he used to carry me upstairs after the accident. But I’m done with his gentleness. It’s doesn’t make me feel safe anymore. I pound on his back, red faced, yelling, but it doesn’t stop him. He yanks the front door open, and my mother stands on the porch, watching us, her arms hugging her body like it’ll protect her.
He strides down the driveway and dumps me into the car, his face stony as he slides into the driver’s seat.
‘Dad.’ Tears are slick down my cheeks. ‘Please. I need you to believe me.’
He ignores me, fires up the engine, and drives.”
This is, honestly, one of those books that will make you feel like you’ve been gutted. After you have finished it, if you are like me, you will sit there feeling so many emotions that you can’t even pick one to latch onto. I finished this story feeling angry about what did and did not happen, but extremely satisfied. It was heart wrenching and emotion grabbing, and I guess that is really all I can ask for in a book. Well done Tess Sharpe, you have a knack for pissing readers off in the BEST possible way. 🙂