I usually begin reviews with a brief summary of the book, without including spoilers of course. However, this book is a bit different to others, which is why I am going to take a different approach and just leave you a quote instead:
“We are the Sinclairs.
No one is needy.
No one is wrong.
We live, at least in the summertime, on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts.
Perhaps that is all you need to know.”
Perhaps that is all you need to know. I think it is best to go into this book without knowing anything about it, I knew very little yet it was still too much. But as I am writing a full review here, I will continue. Don’t worry if you haven’t read it, I will be very cautious with what I discuss in this review, so don’t be afraid to read on!
Let’s just clarify before I go on- I absolutely LOVED this book! One of the many reasons for this is the atmosphere the author created. The whole feeling of the book, and the way the island was created as this perfect, idealistic place really made it so involving and intense (in a good way) for the reader. It was established as somewhere to escape to for the characters at the start of the book, and by giving the same effect to the reader it makes you relate more to the events that follow, and feel more involved and emotionally connected, if that made any sense at all. Basically what I’m saying is ITS BRILLIANT GO READ IT! Well that’s not really what I was trying to say. But it is definitely a valid point you should listen to.
The effect of being involved and brought into the book was also brought by the writing. I have read a lot of reviews criticising the writing in this book, saying the way it is written is distracting, unneeded or irritating. This is fine, I understand that it isn’t for everyone and unfortunately it hasn’t worked for a lot of people, however for me I thought it was excellent. I like to see something new or original in the way a book is written, something that makes it stand out, and this book definitely has that. But it isn’t just the originality of it, in my opinion, it is there for a reason apart from to be different. Lets start with the way things are described. I’ll give an example so you understand what I’m on about if you haven’t yet read the book: “He was contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee.” Now, I think the way these words are used to describe someone is quite clever for two reasons. One, it makes it relatable to us: describing someone as being “strong coffee” makes them relate to something in our lives, something we know, therefore resulting in us feeling like we know the character more. Secondly, it makes the description memorable. We usually remember what a character is like, but the words used aren’t always memorable so if they are used again we won’t necessarily remember the first time. But here, we will and this is used to its advantage. I also think the use of short sentences on individual lines was very clever, although lots of people found this annoying, and it may not be for you. But I thought it helped emphasise each line, each word. It wasn’t used continuously, only every now and then, to great effect. Comment with your views on the writing style, I would be curious to know what you thought of it.
Obviously, at the centre of this story we have Cadence. She was such a layered character, just the right amount of relatable, and just the write amounts of good and bad, which makes her more deep and human, as we all have good and bad in us, and I think when a character is too perfect, too good, it becomes unrealistic and really brings you out of the book and makes it a struggle to feel involved in their story. Cadence, however was not like this, and I found myself agreeing with her and resenting her just the right amounts. I think some of the characters weren’t as complex as they could have been, but I also think this could be deliberate on the author’s part, to place emphasis on Cadence and also how she sees the world. Or the author might just not have developed the characters enough. But I think I’ll trust her on this one.
To sum up: READ THIS BOOK! Just do it! It’s short, yet not lacking in depth. Atmospheric, dark, unexpected…I think I am just proving I cannot do this book justice. I haven’t by any stretch of the imagination written a review that has captured what is so great about this book, but I believe I may have succeeded in at least scratching the surface. I am going to stick by what I have said that it is better that I don’t say anymore about it, and not waste any more of your time when you could be reading this book.