“The moment I started reading, I was no longer in my bedroom, no longer sad, no longer even myself.”
This is a mediocre/good book that had the potential to be great/amazing, but alas, it didn't reach that potential. It's a shame really, because I loved many components of this book, but I didn't love the book as a whole all that much.
Let's start with the good stuff:
- Healthy and heartwarming siblings relationship portrayal.
- Diversity all throughout.
- Anxiety representation.
- And the main topic of this book is grief, which is such an important topic, that maybe doesn't get explored enough.
I think main reason as to why this book fell so flat for me was the writing - don't get me wrong, it was pleasant, easy and enjoyable, but it definitely was missing a spark. This could have been a very emotional book, but it wasn't, at all. Not to me at least. The words were there, the topic was there but the execution just wasn't.
When I picked this book up to read I was under the impression that this was young adult, and I think that it's marketed as one, but besides an occasional use of word "shit" there was nothing young adult about it. The whole ending and a plot twist, if you can call it that, was very juvenile.
I am also not a fan "book inside of a book excerpts" and this book had them after each chapter. They also contributed big time to the book feeling much more like middle grade than young adult. Normally I love to get my hands on some good middle grade, but with this book I wasn't feeling it. Maybe because I set myself up for young adult setting. I'm not sure. I guess my overall feeling of this book is "I'm not sure what went wrong, but it wasn't as good as I thought it might".
Despite all of that there were many things that I liked, especially when anxieties were mentioned - it did feel real and relatable. I enjoyed many of the things Lottie did, but also a lot of those things felt a bit too simple, a bit too mundane. The cover of the book did say "24 dares", so once again my hopes were a bit too high.
Also I wasn't a big fan of the whole "super famous writer aunt, with movies and merchandize made out of her books." I immediately thought about the author of Harry Potter as being inspiration for that particular character arc. Some people might enjoy that, but to me it just felt like an overkill.
In the end, the book felt easily forgettable - it didn't give me what I was hoping it would. However that is a personal feeling and the book might work out for many other people. I'd recommend it, but as a middle grade book, definitely not a young adult.
Freelance BETA reader.