Complicated story threads

8 Jul

I saved the 529-page Whisper to Me by Nick Lake for my 5-hour return flight home.

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Goodreads Summary: Cassie is writing a letter to the boy whose heart she broke. She’s trying to explain why. Why she pushed him away. Why her father got so angry when he saw them together. Why she disappears some nights. Why she won’t let herself remember what happened that long-ago night on the boardwalk. Why she fell apart so completely.

Desperate for his forgiveness, she’s telling the whole story of the summer she nearly lost herself. She’s hoping he’ll understand as well as she now does how love—love for your family, love for that person who makes your heart beat faster, and love for yourself—can save you after all.

As I started reading the book, I was worried I wasn’t going to like it. The writing style felt sort of stream of consciousness and there were no chapter breaks. But as I got into it, I realized it wasn’t the sort of book I feared it was going to be (a paranormal romance) and it was in fact a bit of a mystery, but mostly it was about a girl dealing with a mental illness. That seemed to make more of what I’d expect from Nick Lake. I can’t say I loved Cassie, though I certainly felt empathy for her. And I don’t really understand her attraction to the nameless boy to whom she is writing. But love is a strange thing and I guess the romance in this story is about as believable as anything else in YA lit.

What I especially liked was the realistic ending (every thread isn’t neatly tied up) and the slow revelation of Cassie, her illness and what might have led her to it.  Did I love this book? No. But I wish I’d read it on my way to Canada because I’d have left it for my sister. It’s just a little too old to add to my classroom library.

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