Okay, this book was insanely quotable, and I don’t find myself highlighting passages very often, but for some reason I was highlighter-happy (electronically, guys, I’m not about to deface a beautiful book with the wet ink of a highlighter)! I was scrolling through the reviews of this book on Goodreads though, and this review is pretty much going to be the consensus opinion: amazing beginning, what was that middle?, okay, so how-am-I-supposed-to-feel-about-this-now-ending. But the writing though. My goodness. (It would be summed up with this emoji: 👌) Let’s pros and cons this.
Mim. Oh boy. She was a wild ride. Her narrative was so clever and so witty. It was a fun time. I could read in her voice forever. She’s complex and detailed and most importantly: consistent in her character development. David Arnold was using all those classic good writer hooks that makes me crunch my hair in envy of how someone could get this good at writing. You’ve got your classic pop culture references, BANTER that’s legitimate and not forced (a rarity, I can tell ya’), metaphors, just the right amount of self-loathing, just the right amount of swearing, and John Green Syndrome aka. teens with a vocabulary of a thirty year old man.What more could you possibly want?
Also, rag tag team! A classic and a favourite in my books. Unfortunately this was only a team of 3 rather than 5, which is the optimum friendship number in my opinion. Walt and Beck were mysterious, they were crazy, they were fun. Okay, so what we’ve established so far is this: Characters = good. Writing = GOOD.
Alright, alright, you want to know why this concoction of genius could only be three stars instead of five? I’ll tell you. Something was missing in the plot department. Girl travels almost 1000 miles across the US to get to her dying mother sounds pretty straight forward, in reality this trip is dragged out so much I had no idea someone could take that many detours. The beginning part of the journey was solid gold. The cast of characters was so unique and different, sort of unsettling, but intriguing nonetheless. Then the obstructions start to happen. The things that stop Mim from reaching her goal. All the while she’s writing letters to a mysterious Iz, who’s identity isn’t fully explained until the end.
I guess I just couldn’t grasp all the crazy happenings in the middle of the book, they were fun and fantastical and there’s even this one shiver-inducing bit of narrative where you think everything might have been a hallucination. To be honest, maybe that would have been better. The ending was satisfying, and really focused on the family, which was a puzzle we’d been trying to put together for a long time. BUT THE MIDDLE just didn’t feel like the same book.
Despite the middle, read it. Read it for good characters and good writing. Forget about far fetched plot, because this author is going places.