Holy shit, this book was good. It started slow and then just kept building and building until the breathtaking ending. It was recommended to me by an extended family member and I’m so glad I didn’t just blow them off and actually picked it up. I hope Newman’s other books are as good, because I plan on reading them stat.
Renata “Ren” Ghali lives in a colony on a far away world, working as the settlement’s engineer. She’s a respected member of the community, but keeps herself somewhat isolated. When a humanoid figure approaches the colony and takes up residence, her life gets turned upside down. The stranger works his way into her life and then starts pushing her outside her comfort zone. What no one in the colony knows is that Ren has been silently suffering from both a long kept secret and a mental disorder. Both of these make it hard to live in Ren’s head, but provide the book with palpable tension as you both want and don’t want the town to find out about these secrets.
Ren is both an amazing and frustrating character. Newman writes her with a lot of empathy, but it’s still hard to live in the mind of someone with OCD and anxiety. You just want to shake her and tell her to snap out of it. I’m being intentionally vague because I don’t want to spoil plot points, so take my word for it that the twists in this story are satisfying. I hope if you read this, you can go into it without too much information. It was a really beautiful thing to see this book unfold. Just be aware that at the end, you will want more and apparently it’s a standalone.