All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn't have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.
attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets
Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun.
Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and
feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls,
both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a
connection with Maggie. As Grace's mother spirals downward, both girls
must figure out how to love and how to move on.
My Review: 5 Stars
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher and read it back in September. This book was amazing, and since I've loved both this and Suffer Love, that's enough books to make Ashley Herring Blake one of my favorite authors. And I also think her next book sounds amazing too, but it's a 2018 release, and I'm writing this review in September 2016, so...it'll be a while. But anyway, this book was super great. All of the character dynamics were done with nuance, and it was both beautiful and painful. I'm so glad that I got to read this one early, and I think everyone else should read it too.
I loved the way that they portrayed the relationship between the mothers and daughters in this book. Grace and her mom Maggie had never had a conventional mother-daughter relationship, and it was hurting Grace. She was forced to grow up too young with an unreliable mother who drank a lot and had an endless string of boyfriends. She was forced to go to seedy clubs with her mom and fend off older men hitting on her. Obviously, it wasn't a healthy way for her to grow up. And it's super interesting to watch the dynamics of Maggie and Eva. Eva has just lost her mother who was very important to her, and Maggie swoops in as a mother figure. Eva doesn't realize how much about Maggie she just doesn't know yet. Grace doesn't really want Eva to know about Maggie, and there is a bit of jealousy in the fact that Maggie is making a necklace for Eva that she's always told Grace she'd make for her, and things like that. All of these relationships show a lot of nuance. Maggie isn't necessarily likeable, since I often didn't like her, but she isn't just a completely evil character. She's a woman who lost the man she loved and didn't know how to deal with her grief, and how to really raise her daughter in his absence.
I also loved the relationship between Grace and Eva and how it developed. It was a bit of a slow burn, and a bit painful, and also cute. Eva captivates Grace right away when she comes into her life. She is intriguing to her. The two find exactly what they need in each other to help balance their pain and grief with something happy. They are both a bit broken, but it isn't irreparable. I loved their connection and the moments that they share on the lighthouse.
Another part of the story that I loved was Grace's relationship with Luca and Emmy. Luca was her best friend who was basically a brother to her. There was never anytime when the two of them were interested in each other as more than friends, and it was great to see a solid, strong friendship between a boy and a girl where the two care about each other deeply but are never anything other than platonic. Luca had times when he questioned Grace's decisions and wanted her to do things differently than she did. And they did argue with each other sometimes, but it didn't mean that they didn't care for each other. And I loved how Emmy was like a second mother to Grace, and probably more of a mother to her than her actual mother, Maggie, is. I think Emmy has a really great heart. And also, it was great of her to take in Eva and do the best that she could with suddenly becoming the guardian of a girl who was grieving.
I also liked how even secondary characters were written with nuance. Maggie makes Grace move in with her boyfriend and his son, and his son happens to be Grace's ex-boyfriend. It was clear that Jay had been a jerk when they broke up, but he wasn't completely bad. He was still a bit of a jerk in this book, but he was also supportive of Grace and Eva's relationship, and there were times when he seemed to genuinely care about Grace's life.
If you like YA contemporary, read this book.