Bingo Square Round 2: So Shiny
lollygagger’s review of this one intrigued me, so I ended up picking it up. I was reading this on my phone, and started another new book on my iPad but realized I was much more interested in this novel, and elevated it to my main read and thus Bingo selection.
Before I got too far into this review, I checked the description on Amazon to see how much they give away, and this is one of the rare ones where the description doesn’t give much away from the get go, so I will follow suit accordingly.
Maddie is about to marry the love of her life. She is also pregnant, something very few people know – it wasn’t exactly planned but Ryan and Maddie were already planning their wedding and lives together so they are excited about this next step as well. With the wedding only days away, Maddie is running around town on last minute wedding errands, finalizing her wedding hair with the stylist, putting down final payments for the various vendors providing services when she starts feeling oddly paranoid. In her rush, she is hit by a van, and ends up in a coma.
The novel fast forwards, and Maddie wakes up. She doesn’t appear to have any injuries remaining from her accident, and her developing baby bump is gone. While at first she thinks it has only been a few weeks, she soon discovers she has been in the coma for much longer, and life has changed and moved on. Before she even had the accident, her mother was already suffering from the onset of Alzheimer’s and time has not been kind on that front, being only one of the adjustments Maddie must make.
The novel is broken into three parts, with Maddie narrating the first part, a second character affected by Maddie’s return narrating the second, and the third part alternating between the two. Now, for the most part, the novel has predictable turns but Atkins handles her characters so well that this does not affect the readability at all. I wanted to know how the details would work out, how everything would resolve itself, and what would happen to everyone. One complaint I have is that Atkins did tend to use foreboding and foreshadowing a bit, and there were definitely chapters that ended with statements along the lines of, “I would regret this later” only for there to never really be any event that would cause this statement to be true. Basically, I feel like maybe there was some minor deceit in some of the chapters to keep the reader curious about what was happening next and guessing incorrectly.
Still, overall, I quite enjoyed this (there was some melodrama and some tearjerker moments but they worked within the novel), and a lot of that is due to the characters. Atkins recognizes a complicated situation and creates characters that are simply kind and trying to do their best – sometimes they make the wrong choices, but there is no right or wrong side, and the reader ends up rooting for everyone, even if starting with Maddie as the narrator might predispose the reader to take her side. In fact, I liked Maddie even more when hearing about her from the other viewpoint (and vice versa). I’ve mentioned before that after staying away from “contemporary women’s novels” (or whatever one might call this specific subgroup of novels that also tends to make up much of Reese Witherspoon’s book club selections), it’s nice to revisit it, especially since I have been reading the novels that present some of the better selections of that genre rather than the ones that feel dialed in and repetitive.
Bingo Square: So Shiny
Bingo 2.1! (Cannonballer Says: The Keeper of Lost Things, This is the End: The Stone Sky, Award Winner: The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Birthday: Bloodfever, So Shiny: While I Was Sleeping)