· I was sent this book by Bloomsbury Publishing in return of an honest book. It was released earlier this month so decided to get into it straight away. I ended up reading it in one day.
SUMMARY/BLURB: "Seventeen year-old Jonah Daniels has lived in Verona Cove, California, his whole life, and only one thing has ever changed: his father used to be alive, and now he is not. With a mother lost in a deep bout of depression, Jonah and his five siblings struggle to keep up their home and the restaurant their dad left behind. But at the start of summer, a second change rolls in: Vivi Alexander, the new girl in town. Vivi is in love with life. Charming and unfiltered, she refuses to be held down by the medicine she's told should make her feel better. After meeting Jonah, she slides into the Daniels' household seamlessly, winning over each sibling with her imagination and gameness. But it's not long before Vivi's zest for life begins to falter. Soon her adventurousness becomes all-out danger-seeking. Through each high and low, Vivi and Jonah's love is put to the test . . . but what happens when love simply isn't enough?" - (Book Blurb)
· CHARACTERS; Both characters in this book were going through a pretty hard a dark time. Jonah just lost his father, and rather than being able to grieve himself, he has had to look after his younger siblings whilst his mother spends her days in bed. Jonah is such a loving character and one that draws sympathy from the readers. He’s going through such a hard time, yet he is still able to stay strong, have a laugh, and put a smile on the faces of those around him. Vivi, however, I found a quite irritating character. I highly understand that she also is going through a hard time after suffering anxiety and depression the previous year, but the way she was treating Jonah at points throughout the book really annoyed me. She is quite an outspoken character who will do what she wants when she wants, and this often gets her into trouble. I grew to somewhat like her towards the end, but I think Lord could have written her more likeable. However in saying this, it did add drama and conflict to the story line and allowed for character development.
· STORY LINE; I found the story line a bit boring in the sense that not much happened. I understand that it covered important issues about mental health and growing up in general, but there was no major part in the story where I was like WOW or couldn’t put the book down. The plot line was good and I liked it, I just didn’t love it. It was almost as if Lord had all these ideas of mini stories, but she only covered each one briefly rather than expanding on at least one of them. This didn’t allow for a major peak in the story full of conflict and resolution which was a bit of a bumma. However, overall I didn’t mind reading a nice quick and easy read and it did cover important issues of mental health and family dynamics.
· NARRATIVE PERSPECTIVE; Each chapter switched the perspectives between Jonah and Vivi however in third person. I found this a nice touch as the readers were able to gain a deep insight into both of the characters minds and how they were feeling in that point of time. We were also able to visualise what each characters’ life was like when they weren’t around each other. This also created suspense; for example when reading Jonah’s chapter, we only knew as much as he did and were unaware of what was going on in Vivi’s life. I would like to see if first person narrative would have been better because I feel like the readers would grow a closer and more personal connection with the characters. I am glad that Lord did tell the story from both characters' perspectives as the readers wouldn't have gained as much from the story if it was told from the perspective of just one character.
· ENDING; Personally, I loved the ending and I think that it was my favourite part of the whole book. It wasn’t a cute and soppy ending like a typical contemporary, but something more realistic. Although it wasn’t exactly a typical happy ending, it left it open for the readers interpretation as to what would happen for Jonah and Vivi in the future.
· RATING; I decided to give this book 4stars out of 5, which to be fair I still think is a great rating. It covered issues about mental health awareness, I enjoyed the ending, and I thought that the perspectives in which the narrative was told was done really well. However, I didn’t love the story line and the overall feel of the book.
I would still recommend this book to readers of contemporary, or to people who are going through a rough patch at the moment.
Thanks Bloomsbury for sending me this book :) I will be doing a full video review on this book over on my YouTube channel soon.