Forced to return to his estranged family, John discovers how hard it is to truly go home.
It’s been a year since John lost his girlfriend, Leah, to suicide. Living with his uncle keeps his mind from the tragedy and his screwed up family-until he gets into trouble and a judge sends him back home. With a neglectful mother and abusive brother, John’s homecoming is far from happy.
As he tries to navigate and repair the relationships he abandoned years ago, Emily, the girl next door, is the only bright spot. She’s sweet and smart and makes him think his heart may finally be healing. But tragedy isn’t far away, and John must soon face an impossible decision: save his family or save himself.
I read this book as a buddy read with Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much and Kat@Life and Other Disasters, question girls… Why do we only read bad books together? We should change this, right?
I have to be honest here, I read the first 30% of the book, then I just couldn’t handle it and I skimmed through the rest of it. I did finish it, I just skipped a lot of paragraphs =/. Yeah… that good…
The premise of the story, the characters and situations, all had immense potential, but somehow, none of it worked on this book.
The writing was the first thing that got me off the story, it’s not like it was bad, but it was boring, the pacing was off, and the word repetition didn’t help at all. Right in the first few chapters I was already tired of the mentions of weed and Jack Daniels.
Then came the characters, and OMG! Just no! John was honestly a sweet and good boy, but he was a terrible narrator. All his feelings of guilt, not belonging, and anger over the stupidest things were too much for me. I’m serious. The guy couldn’t even take the help of a fucking guiding counselor, who was only doing her job, without feeling angry on the inside and feeling like a charity case. NO! Emily was just… what was she? I didn’t get her at all. She was an enabler of the worst kind… “You want to drown your sorrows?! Sure, let me get you some alcohol!“… for fuck’s sake…
And what even where those parents? Who is the mom who kicks out her son at the age of 10? Or scolds him because he’s trying to protect his mom and little sis from getting hit? I understood the difficulties of having a disabled son, but forgetting about your two other children, when one of them was only a baby at the time? It didn’t sound right at all to me.
Then the whole plot was just so weird to me, and the amount of contradictions… bah! Just no! First John had left home at the age of 10, and hadn’t played Lacrosse since then, but on the first day he’s training, and within a week he’s totally in shape and playing super well. Then there’s all the talk about his ex Leah, who killed herself… were they out publicly? How long ago did she die? Because he’s only 17, but he talks like he had all this previous experience, and I didn’t see it. The timeline was so weird… I would have bought the whole book a lot better if for instance, his brother accident had happened 4 year later, and he had left his mom’s house at 14 or 15. Because the gap was just too big.
John’s behaviour was just weird and nonsensical for me. The way everyone seemed to protect him for some reason and are super loyal to him?! I didn’t get it. His relationship with Emily? A total mystery for me… I didn’t feel it at all!
The resolutions were just too easy too, and it didn’t even make sense. Honestly, what was this book? 😦
I felt like there was so much potential in this story, but it just didn’t work. I’m sorry… this just wasn’t for me. There are some good reviews on goodreads though, so maybe this was a problems of “me” and not of the book, but Kat and Cátia didn’t quite enjoy it either, so maybe not… Give it a try and see for yourself, but I sure can’t recommend it.