“Henri said our names were fitting because we were destined to be together in our old age, like our great-great-aunts. Two gray old ladies in the bodies of teenage girls. Someday we’d live in a big house with faded curtains, a dozen or so cats, and a handful of our marbles long ago lost. On all accounts—our destiny, her clairvoyance, and our soon-to-be missing marbles—I believed her.”
Publisher: Dial Books
Genres: Contemporary, Survival
Release date: August 15th, 2017
Dates read: July 2nd-8th, 2017
Rating: ★ ★ / 5
**This is a review of an advance uncorrected proof, and all quotes are subject to change**
I’m going to try out a bit of a different format for this review than what I usually do because I think it’ll work well with the number of different opinions I have about this book. I was so excited to read it, because I’d heard many good things and the cover is absolutely beautiful, but I ended up pretty disappointed.
I’ll start off with what I liked about this book:
- The storyline was interesting. I’ve never really read a book where characters are stranded on an island before this one, and it was interesting to see the different things they came up with to survive. It got a little slow at times, but the storyline was mostly enjoyable.
- The flashbacks interwoven throughout the book. It was interesting to see the characters’ pasts, and also it was a nice break from the island. The book would have been nearly unbearable to read without these breaks, so they were a nice addition.
Now for what I disliked:
- The characters. All three of our main characters were just awful and I could not stand any of them. Emma, the narrator, has a total “I’m not like other girls” vibe going on, and she constantly victimizes herself. Henri, Emma’s sister was just so mean all the time for no reason. She basically had no redeeming qualities. Even in the flashbacks when she was nice to Emma, she was horrible to her five seconds later every time. I thought I would like Henri in the beginning, because I thought she would have some character development and also I didn’t like Emma, but she just got worse as the story went on. None of her decisions made sense and I wanted to scream at her and Emma so many times. However, out of the three, I liked her the most (which isn’t saying much). Alex, the the third main character, is the obligatory male love interest who is stranded on the island with the sisters. He’s bland as hell, and the book would have been so much better without him. He was just annoyingly secretive and aloof and I just could not stand him.
- Alex and his relationship with Emma. Alex was just overall a bland and annoying character. I couldn’t get myself to like him at all throughout the book, and I didn’t understand Emma’s attraction to him at all. Even though they were stuck on an island together, they barely tried to get to know each other and their relationship had no substance. Also, there was one part where Alex said he wanted to hit Henri and Emma was fine with him saying that and even agreed with him! Why would you be okay with anyone, especially someone you’re romantically interested in, saying they want to hit your sister? No matter how angry I was at my sister I’d never be okay with someone saying they wanted to hit her. That just totally rubbed me the wrong way.
- The lack of character growth. All three characters left the island exactly the same as they were when they got stuck on it. I wanted character development, especially from Henri, but she didn’t change at all. Her and Emma’s relationship could have had a lot of growth and could have been so good and complex but it just…..wasn’t. She and Emma fought all the time, and made up out of nowhere. They didn’t even really discuss their problems.
- The way a student/teacher relationship was handled. Emma tells her mother about Henri’s relationship with one of her teachers, and she is basically villainized for it. It’s understandable that Henri would be mad at her, but when she tells Alex what she did, Alex tells her that it was terrible too! Emma did the right thing by reporting this because that teacher is a predator, even if Henri came on to him (which it’s emphasized throughout the book that she did, but that changes nothing)! It’s still statutory assault! Emma beats herself up about reporting it forever and thinks that she ruined the teacher’s life even though he ruined his own life. I just was super annoyed by the way that this was handled. I get why Henri was mad at Emma for it, but the other characters should have known that she did the right thing.
- The conclusion was super unsatisfying. I needed more of the two girls getting back to their lives. It felt like we only got a few pages of it, and with all the flashbacks to their life we got throughout the book, I wanted to see more of them adjusting back to reality. Also their parents were way too unexcited to find them alive after THREE MONTHS of being missing.
Overall, this book was pretty disappointing. I enjoyed a few aspects but I was annoyed by it so many times, and I had a lot of issues with the way certain things were handled. It just wasn’t my cup of tea.
Did you like this book? Let me know why or why not in the comments! Based on Goodreads reviews, I know I’m in the minority with my low rating so if you liked it, tell me why!