It's interesting to read through some of the reviews for this book. Everyone seems to like a different aspect. One person likes the voice of the narration and POV, another the romance, another the mystery, and another the characterizations and emotional depth, etc. etc. It's as if there is something for everyone. And considering all this book has going on/for it, that's not surprising. Because it is part romance, part history, part mystery, part poetry, part self-discovery, [fill in the blank]...
And it is due to all of these different things that makes this book so original.
First the narration: Second person is hard to pull off. But Julie Berry has managed to do it. The story is told by Judith as if she is addressing her childhood friend and love, Lucas. And it's her unrequited love for Lucas that makes this such a vulnerable and illuminating perspective.
This story kept me guessing. This is not a run of the mill book. I kept trying to guess what would happen next and I was wrong every time.
The story begins when Judith is nineteen and is made up of mini "chapters." Throughout the book some of these "chapters" would be flashbacks that slowly revealed Judith's childhood and relationship with Lucas or her family or what had happened to her when she was missing. These random, unexpected jumps back and forth in time normally would have bothered me as I like a more chronological timeline, but I was so curious about her past and what happened to her that I didn't care. Every "chapter" revealed something knew and I just wanted to know!
So it worked.
Now, what kept this from being 5 stars? Sometimes the writing was a little vague. Things weren't always fully explained and I would have to re-read a line or two to make sure I was grasping what the author (or Judith) was trying to say. And I think because of this I sometimes didn't fully understand Judith's reasoning or motivation. I literally don't want to spoil anything so I won't give examples. But this is the main thing that held this book back for me.
Still, serious brownie points for originality! I really enjoyed this one.
"They were once my neighbors and friends, even if I am no longer theirs."
"You're a flood, a baptism I'd forgotten, and the force of you leaves me breathless."
"Why does everyone presume that I, as damaged merchandise, forfeit any claim to happiness?"
"I have loved you too long Lucas."
"Too long?" you say. "No such thing."