Oh, wow. This is such a lovely, difficult book. The first things we learn are that Lydia’s missing, and that it’s not like her to be missing. From there unfolds a story which is also a lesson in how not to raise your child, though it’s taught by proxy through parents who wanted nothing but success and happiness for their daughter.
Lydia is slowly collapsing under the pressure from both her parents to live out their unfulfilled dreams; unfortunately, they’re wildly different people, so that’s a little difficult, or let’s say impossible. From day one, her parents put all of their eggs into the Lydia basket, and their two other children are largely ignored, Lydia’s older brother Nathan because as a boy, he was of no particular value as a road to their mother’s redemption and it was clear early on he wasn’t going to be the popular jock kid their father dreamed of being, and Lydia’s younger sister Hannah because she came along too late in the process to be a focus of concentration: they already had that, REALLY. Poor sad sensitive kind powerful lovely Hannah, by the way. Anyway, this adds to the general shitty situation in the Lee household as Lydia’s brother, who’s taken on the role of her protector, is going off to college and is sick of that role anyway and for Lydia, who’s on the very very edge of the edge anyway, that’s just too much.
You gotta read it, though. As endings often do this one felt kind of abrupt, but it’s powerful just the same and there’s not a single thing I can say about it. If you have kids or if your parent(s) ever intentionally or otherwise applied this sort of pressure to you, you’ll think about this book for a long time.