- Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
- Publication date: 8/26/2014
- Source: eARC provided by the publisher for review
The closest he will ever come to happiness is when he's hurting her. Will she let him? A beautiful and twisted story of first love and innocence lost--written when the author was just eighteen.
Sphinxie and Cadence. Promised to each other in childhood. Drawn together again as teens. Sphinxie is sweet, compassionate, and plain. Cadence is brilliant, charismatic. Damaged. And diseased. When they were kids, he scarred her with a knife. Now, as his illness progresses, he becomes increasingly demanding. She wants to be loyal--but fears for her life. Only the ultimate sacrifice will give this love an ending.
Talk about a disturbing story. I wasn't really into this book, but the writing was just really great and had me needing to keep going. That, and as much as I didn't care for the characters, I really did want to know how it all would end. So now you're probably all thinking "If you couldn't put it down and the writing was great, why didn't you like it?". Well, the thing is, even though I kept reading, it was more that I was hoping that something would change. That the characters would grab me, that the story would somehow not be so wrong and disturbing to me. I didn't like the characters. Any of them. Sphinxie was just stupid, and Cadence is just a soulless monster. Then the parents just irritated me as well. The idea behind the story is great, but the way it all happened just didn't have the impact I think it was meant to.
Sphinxie starts off the story by telling us about how it all started. Her mom met her BFF and they planned out their whole lives. Everything that they planned has happened, staying friends, their careers, where they live, even the genders of the children they each have and what they name them. What they didn't account for was something going wrong. Sphinxie and Cadence are friends, but there is something dark in him, and he's very controlling and sometimes mean to her. After he cuts her, he and his mom move away and Sphinxie starts to move on with her life. When they find out that he is ill and dying, she knows that she needs to go be with him. Even though she is scared of him, even though she doesn't really want to. She just knows it's the right thing to do.
I never really liked her much. She was so stupid. She kept letting him push her around and do horrible things. She thought that she could bring out the good in him. She kept thinking that she saw some type of compassion or feeling that wasn't ever there. I get that she so badly wants the dream life that her mom and his planned to come true. She wants to see the plan through as much as possible, even though she knows the ending is impossible with Cadence literally counting his last days. She really does lose herself and I think that was supposed to make me feel for her, but it just wasn't there for me. I wanted so much to be emotionally attached to her and the story, I just never got to that point.
Cadence was someone I strongly disliked from the beginning. Yes, he's supposed to be charming, smart, pretty much perfect, but he was always a monster. It was obvious that something was wrong with him from the start. He thrives on other peoples pain and suffering. That is the only time he seems truly happy. If things aren't his way, he becomes impossible. He was just a horrible person that I never had any hope for and never thought that he would change, even in his last days of life.
What bothered me the most was the horrible parenting. Okay, maybe not horrible, but lack of sense from the parents. Cadence gets away with things first because his mother just kind of gives up on him changing, then when he is ill, because she feels bad punishing him or letting him know his behavior is wrong. Then Sphynxie's mom just lets her stay in another country, in the middle of a school year to be with this boy who she hadn't even talked to in years. I get that she is kind of fighting it, but she is the parent and she just thinks it's an okay idea. Even after she gets hurt at the hands of Cadence again. Her dad is not all about it, but apparently mom wins.
I am not really sure what the point of this story is. I mean, I know a lot of books don't really have a point, they just are, but this one was a bit disturbing and at the end I was thinking, "What did I just read?". I think that some people might get that emotional attachment that I was looking for and it might turn out to be a really great book for them. I think the lack of connection at all really was the thing that didn't make this book fantastic for me. The writing was really fabulous though, and that in itself gives it another star. I really enjoyed the writing and would definitely read more from this author. This book just didn't wow me like I wanted.
*An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.