So, I really enjoy this author. I loved Wake, Fade, and Gone. I still need to read her dystopian series for the younger spectrum of the young adult audience because I have heard really great things about them. I got to meet this author when I was in library school. She actually came to the main branch of the public library to do a teen program. I (along with my wonderful librarian friend, Abby) were probably the oldest non parents to go to the program, and not actually be working it. We actually both received some free books for going! Though, we did wait to make sure all the teens got books first.
Meeting an author tends to make me more biased in my readings. It’s hard to hate a book when you know the person who wrote it is totally awesome. And Lisa McMann is totally awesome. I was not the biggest fan of Cryer’s Cross, but like I said, I loved her first series, and I was super looking forward to reading this one.
McMann definitely has a style. She likes the whole suspense thing. She loves the supernatural. She doesn’t shy away from writing characters with mental illness. And she likes to give dark qualities to her storylines. All things for me = a big plus. However, I’m sorry to say this, but I don’t think she’s very good with endings. But, I’ll get to that in a moment.
This one is about Jules, a girl who lives, works, and does pretty much everything with her family. Her family owns one of two competing pizza businesses in her town. Jules owns up in the beginning to not really having many friends. She does drive a pizza food truck to school every day that has two giant meatballs on the top…And she used to have a best friend. Unfortunately, he ended up blowing her off completely most likely because his family owns the other pizza business in town. And oh yeah, Jules is totally still in love with him any way.
Jules thankfully is very close to her siblings who are all close to the same age. None of them, including the mom, seem to be all that close to their dad. He’s a hoarder. He seriously has their whole apartment loaded with cookbooks, newspapers, and old electronics. And he’s also seriously depressed to the point where he only sometimes gets out of bed and goes to work.
Jules, while harboring her long crush, working at her family restaurant every day, working hard for good grades, and being there for her family, is also now starting to see a vision. She sees it in windows, on tv screens, plastered on billboards, taking over her computer screen at the library, etc. She can’t stop seeing it. And as the days go on and it becomes more and more clear that this will be an event that just hasn’t happened yet, and well, Jules becomes more and more determined to stop it.
Unfortunately for Jules, the vision involves a plow truck running into her crush’s restaurant and killing 9 people. One of those nine people is her crush. And she just can’t live without telling him, and without trying to stop it from happening. But how far is Jules willing to go to help a terrible accident from happening? Is it worth her family’s trust, her already declining popularity at school, her sanity, her life?
I know this sounds weird, but one of my favorite things about this book was Jules’ fear of mental illness, of becoming like her father. This becomes a theme of the book not just for her, but also for her crush who is afraid of becoming like his father too. I feel like this fear is so spot on for anyone living in a family with mental illness.
I also loved how close Jules was with her brother and sister. I wish she had more friends, but seeing such a close family was nice too. I loved her to pieces. Seriously, her sense of humor, her acceptance of all people, and her stalker-ish tendencies were just so believable and fun to read about. Sawyer (the crush) was not my favorite character. Yes, I understand why he didn’t believe her. And yes, I understand why he acted the way he did. But honestly, I didn’t get what was so special about him. He so did not deserve all that love, attention, and dedication from Jules for so many years!
This is all leading up to a not so good ending. I just feel like too much was resolved. I know this is a series and a lot of times I say how I hate not knowing things at the end of a book 1. But here, I’m actually complaining that I know too many things. I hate that Sawyer’s story was explained so quickly. The only really unbelievable thing for me (in a book filled with psychic visions) was how Sawyer told everything to Jules so quickly.
His story is sad and Jules deserved to hear it. And I guess I would have hated Sawyer more without it, but I just don’t think that someone who has been what Sawyer has been through and hid it for so long would just burst out with everything the way he did. I just feel like this was handled too abruptly. Too many things were tied up with a nice bow in the end. Even stuff with Jules’ father was tied up a little more than I liked. I would have wanted to hold on to some more mystery. Though, her family drama/horror story was as good as the best kind of soap opera.
I liked the final twist at the end though. And I loved Jules and her siblings. McMann knows how to write fantastic main characters, suspense, supernatural twists, and romance. I just always seem to wish her endings were a little different. I give this one an 8/10.