Summary: You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…
Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.
Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.
Thoughts and Themes: I picked this book up because I had a few days left of June and thought oh this is a short book, I can get through it quickly. Do not let the size of this book confuse you though, there is a lot of emotions packed into those pages. I went back and forth with how many stars to give this book as it did make me think about my life and that is usually a five star read but I didn’t love it as much as some of my other five stars. I settled with giving it a 4.5 stars.
I usually write my reviews as I read the book and have the majority of the review done before I get to the end. I do this to avoid spoilers in my reviews and so that I write my immediate thoughts, not the ones that happen after I let the book marinate in my head a little. This one was different though as I jotted my notes down but didn’t put it into a review until the day after reading the book. I did this intentionally though as I had a lot of personal things that this book brought up for me that I needed to process.
This book brings up the process of grief alongside feelings of betrayal. I thought that this book did a good job in addressing the many ways that grief appears for people and how everyone processes their grief differently. I really enjoyed how Marin processed everything or chose not to process the grief and how she pushed everyone around her away. I thought that it was great to see how she struggled with the feelings of betrayal from her grandfather and how she reconciled some feelings of guilt while grieving.
Something else that I thought this book did well and that really got to me was the depiction of the relationship between Marin and Mabel. I liked how we see the past version of the two of them and how they slowly became strangers to each other. I thought it was important to see how Marin’s losses changed her and how those changes made it so that the relationship these two had changed. I connected with the ways in which they had to find new ways to define their feelings for each other and what they now meant to each other.
Characters: Each character that you are introduced to throughout this story is lovable even if you only see them for a couple of pages. I love the development that you see Marin go through from the start of the book all the way to the end. I think the growth of her character was good to show and how “okay” for Marin might not be everyone’s definition of that word.
You can clearly see how each character is feeling throughout the story and you understand why they feel certain ways. I like how you can see the characters develop relationships with each other or forge new relationships that may not have been there before.
Writing Style: This story is told through the perspective of Marin but it goes back and forth from the present to the past. This allows you to see how Marin got to where she is now and her thoughts behind fleeing her home. I thought this was a good way to get the whole picture of this story without it being through Marin telling someone else her past.
I like how the pacing of this book is constant throughout the whole story and it never really picks up. I like the slow pacing of the book and how you can easily follow along.
You can get this book at Eso Won Books or look for it at your local library.