- Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (Imprint of HarperCollins)
- Publication date: 5/28/2013
- Source: eARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for review
Things you earnestly believe will happen while your parents are away:
1. You will remember to water the azaleas.
2. You will take detailed, accurate messages.
3. You will call your older brother, Denny, if even the slightest thing goes wrong.
4. You and your best friend/bandmate Lukas will win Battle of the Bands.
5. Amid the thrill of victory, Lukas will finally realize you are the girl of his dreams.
Things that actually happen:
1. A stranger calls who says he knew your sister.
2. He says he has her stuff.
3. What stuff? Her stuff.
4. You tell him your parents won’t be able to—
5. Sukey died five years ago; can’t he—
6. You pick up a pen.
7. You scribble down the address.
8. You get on your bike and go.
9. Things . . . get a little crazy after that.*
*also, you fall in love, but not with Lukas.
Both exhilarating and wrenching, Hilary T. Smith’s debut novel captures the messy glory of being alive, as seventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd discovers love, loss, chaos, and murder woven into a summer of music, madness, piercing heartbreak, and intoxicating joy.
I love contemporary books. Especially ones where things all seem to go wrong. I think my mistake going into this one was thinking it was going to be similar to Ten Things We Did (That We Probably Shouldn't Have) because it was nothing like that. I have been thinking about how to write this review actually because I honestly didn't know how I felt about it at all upon finishing. I still really don't, but after thinking about it, I didn't hate it. I just left me not feeling anything. Not much happened and the characters were all out of their minds in my opinion. Not just the ones that are supposed to have mental illness. My brain was starting to hurt after a while and I was questioning my own sanity at points. I don't think that I really liked a single character in this whole book, but somehow, I still liked it... I think.
Kiri is the main character of the story and I honestly couldn't decide what to think about her. She is absolutely, out of her tree crazysauce! At first she just seems a little rebellious and perhaps made a stupid decision or two, but then she keeps making them. For instance, why would you go to some random stranger's house at night in the most horrible neighborhood ever? Yup, she does that... a lot.Okay, so after the first few times she actually kind of knows him, but still. Then, she's supposedly this amazing piano player, but she starts spending all her time running around, doing drugs, and just generally acting positively insane. Then she gets upset when her piano instructor calls her out on her lack of focus! And OMG she gets all excited that her and Lukas kissed and she touched his earlobe (which is mentioned more than once in the book) and it's like the most sensual thing in the world to her, but then she makes out with another boy for hours and runs around naked with him and never talks about that being sensual, or erotic, or whatever. Then, she's horrible to her parents, which really, they kind of fail in the parents of the year department, but still. Anyways, it seems like before her parents went away on vacation she was a pretty good kid, and now all of the sudden she just flips and is out of her mind? I don't know. She was a difficult character's head to be in. I felt like I needed some meds after reading this.
Onto the romance. So she's like totally pining for her bandmate Lukas, but he doesn't like her. He's a total freaking tool anyways, so I don't even get what she sees in him. The real romance is some random guy who she meets in the shit part of town that she had gone to to get her sisters things. Umm kind of weird right. And then, she's in love with him after two days too. *cue eye roll* He was nice and all, but it was obvious there was something not right with him too. They sit around, drink tea, frolic around naked, and read some spiritual book together. They know almost nothing about each other, but yet, they are in love. They even have sweet nicknames for each other. Crazy Girl and Bicycle Boy. How sweet right?! *gag*
There are other characters of course. Her neighbor and band mate, Lukas. He wasn't very likable at all. It's like he could care less that Kiri was around unless it's convenient for him. And her parents. From what we kind of learn, they are more worried about what they want then what Kiri wants. They kind of seem to blow off her feelings or what she might want. Though, I'm not sure if they are really that way, or if we just see it that way through her crazy head. The worst was her brother. He was not only a jerk, but he was violent and I couldn't stand him. I don't care how infuriating Kiri was, he smashes her things and practically throws her off of her piano bench. I wanted to punch him.
So there's not much of a story here except Kiri unraveling and going crazy years after her sister died. She is competing in Battle of the Bands, she meets the love of her life, and she finds out his deep dark secret. The thing is, even with nothing happening, and me feeling like I was slowly losing my mind along with Kiri, I think I did enjoy this. I think it's really saying something when I just can't wrap my head around my thoughts. I only wish that the mental illness had been addressed a little better, but it was an intriguing book that I couldn't stop reading, even when I couldn't stand the characters. Overall I did like it.
*An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.