Sisters uncover an unbelievable family secret
Barbara “Babie” Bunting is constantly mistaken for her sisters, but she’s determined not to end up like her family. She doesn’t plan to stick around Shallow Pond after graduation, and she certainly won’t be ruined by a broken heart. That is, until fellow orphan Zach Faraday walks into the picture, and Babie can’t deny their chemistry.
When her oldest sister, Annie, comes down with a mysterious illness—initially dismissed as “love sickness”—Babie and Zach start investigating what exactly killed the girls’ mother and why their late father became so consumed by grief. What they find changes everything.
Synopsis from Goodreads
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I’ll start off by saying that it was absolutely nothing like what I expected. But to be thrown off can be a good thing. Sometimes. I was definitely not expecting the first half of this book to read like a contemporary novel. I was actually starting to second guess my first impression of the book. I had just assumed that there would be some sort of paranormal or sci-fi twist to the story. So where was it??
The reader is thrown deep into the mind of Barbara, “Babie”, your average teenage girl. She is egocentric and full of angst. She is overly dramatic with her desperate need to escape the small town of Shallow Pond. And she is rude and distant to everyone around her. I understand that she wasn’t always this way, but only because I was told this. I really wish I had had the chance to see her regular interactions with her friends, instead of wondering why these people stuck around, waiting for her to be nice to them. Barbara is given chance after chance by these friends, and while I respected their loyalty, I wondered what Barbara had done to deserve it.
I really enjoyed the subtle undercurrents of love versus obsession. And not just between Babie and Zach. Zach Faraday is pretty much your average book boy. He’s burn-your-retinas hot, while somehow remaining humble and level headed. And, of course, he and Babie have this inexplicable connection. I think I would have enjoyed this book more had there been more interaction between them. Babie spends so much time talking about why she can’t have a relationship with this guy. We’re talking pages and pages of fighting a physical attraction, and we still don’t know a damn thing about him. It was like a reluctant insta-love. I liked where they ended up though.
The first half of the book was frustrating because I could feel the inkling of something great. I just wasn’t sure if that something would be achieved by the end. Then came that sci-fi twist I had been waiting for. The whole book was transformed. I was mostly happy with the second half of the book. It delves into some dark waters, dealing with controversial topics, toeing the line between right and wrong. While not entirely unique, Grosso does put a wonderful spin on a classic tale.
For dealing with something technical, it was left strangely UNscientific. Good news for laments! Anyone can enjoy this story, but I can definitely recommend this book to teens. Parents will be happy to know that there was only one swear (that I noticed – don’t quote me on that!) and the romance was squeaky clean. This was, however, an ARC so there may be changes made before publication. On the plus side, there were very few errors in this draft, so it bodes well for the finished copy.
A copy of this book was received from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.