First, I’d like to start out by saying this book has influenced me so much. From the very first mention of the book, I was interested. From the very first page, I was hooked.
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. We are old-money Democrats. Our smiles wide, our chins square, and are tennis serves aggressive.
Boom, right there. Completely enthralled in the stories and the characters. Already, the writing is mysterious, satirical, and suspenseful. Already, I’m dying to know more, which is pretty much how the whole book went for me.
We are Sinclairs. No one is needy. No one is wrong. We live, at least in the summertime, on a private island off the coast of Manhattan. Perhaps that is all you need to know.
And maybe that’s all I need to say because, “if anyone asks you how it ends, just lie.” But alas, for your reading pleasure, I’ll elaborate.
This book won the Goodreads 2014 award for Young Adult, so you already know its loved and will (probably) be good. But, to further convince you to pick it up, I’d like to personally recommend it to any and all readers.
Usually, when recommending books I begin with “well, if you like (insert book/ genre), then you’ll like (insert book).” Not this one. No sir. I seriously want everyone to read it, and I would love rereading it myself if I wasn’t so overwhelmed with my reading pile as it is.
It’s sophisticated, literary, gorgeous. It’s suspenseful and romantic and heartbreaking. The writing style is completely unique and while the surface plot is simple (though there is, if you haven’t heard, a definite twist), the underlying meanings are still somewhat of a mystery to me. Luckily, we’re reading it in book club next month (courtesy of yours truly), and maybe I’ll figure more things out by talking about it.
Lockhart writes in a very poetic style of prose. She breaks up her sentences into lines and the phonetics of the writing help the progression of the book. She writes with emotion, and the sentence structure and figurative language bring the reader to feel empathy for the narrator without ever having to fully understand why she feels that way.
Lockhart also adds in little fairy tales to explain the feelings of the narrator and the characters of the book. I love these fairy tales. First of all, by doing this, she shows the significance of fairy tales and their influence and hidden messages, which I’ve always found very important. Second of all, they all have wonderful significance whose themes stuck with me just as much as the rest of the book, if not more. The tales beautifully supported the main plot line, and they added a certain flair and literary achievement to the entirety of the book.
People have been saying for a young adult book, it’s very literary. Nope, I don’t agree. As a novel, it’s literary and chalk full of hidden themes and figurative language and glorious imagery. As a novel, it’s wonderful and makes you stop and think and may bring tears to your eyes from the beauty of the writing. As a novel, I’d recommend it to anyone. And for a young adult book, it proves the merit of the whole genre.
Read this book. Period.
I met E. Lockhart at the YALL Fest, and I’d like to point out that from watching her on the What My True Love Gave to Me panel and in the smackdown, she has a wonderful dramatic voice. Her voice is made for the book. You can tell automatically that her book wouldn’t be the cut-and-dry page turner or the generic dystopia. Nope. From her voice to her personality (from what I saw) she is one for uniqueness and flair. And her book definitely reflects this.