Author: Abria Mattina
Genre: Young Adult
Publish Date: September 2011
Source: Received copy from author
Personal Rating: 5 stars
Eighteen isn’t too young to run your life into the ground, but it’s not too old to fix it, either. The desire for change drives Willa Kirk from St. John’s, Newfoundland back to hometown of Smiths Falls, Ontario, away from her mistakes and the place where her sister died. She’s looking for a place to settle and rebuild, but Jem Harper just wants to get out of town, back to the life he knew before cancer. By letting the tragedies in their lives define them, they are both dying a little more every day. Welcome to the wake.
I love books written from the main characters points of view, alternating between each character, but continuing with the story. This book was written very well. There was a heading for each of the characters, but then it was also broken into days like a diary. However, there was not that feel of a diary, to me it felt just like large paragraph breaks with headings. Done very well! There was not a lot of overlap between the characters, except when there needed to be. This balance was very well done.
The book starts January 19th. Jem is in remission and there is a new girl in his school, Willa. This story mainly revolves around these two and is a beautiful love story.
Jem was very likeable. The author created a strong male character who may or may not be in a weak situation. Depends on how you look at him or the situation. Jem was trying to return to “normal” but normal may not be what it used to be. He grew to understand himself, what he used to be, and where he was now. He also was learning how to shape himself better.
Willa was a very strong female character. She was not afraid of Jem and what he had gone through, even though she really should have been afraid of what she was getting herself into. Willa also has her own struggles she is dealing with, past and present. Learning to work through those, she helps many others in the book.
Elise is the younger sister who did a brave thing by being a donor for her brother. While not an easy task, she knew she wanted to do it without question. She is growing up and wants to prove she is old enough for grown up things. Of course, her older brother is very protective. Elise returns this favor by still being his protector and provide comfort to him.
Ava is one of Jem’s friends from Ottawa. I really liked her when I first met her and that’s why I wanted to put her in the review. She comes to visit him and “set him straight”. She does have some similar character traits as Willa, but Willa is a little more polished.
I loved all the characters and their situations. This story, while it is 759 pages, did not ever keep me from wanting to turn page after page after page. Very enjoyable read!
What to Read Next?
Choose any book by Jodi Picoult. This writing and story reminded me of all the Jodi Picoult books I have read.