I don’t have a lot to say about this one. I wanted to like it more than I did. That said, it wasn’t a bad book. It was just . . . fine. I enjoyed reading it, it kept my attention, and it’s a quick read that I finished in about a day. I would recommend it, I don’t regret reading it (though I do regret buying it), and I can’t point to anything I disliked about it.
But it was still just . . . fine. I do recognize that not all books can be great and earn 4 or 5 stars from me, and I’m glad that I liked it, but it does make it hard to write a review of it.
Brief summary: The novel is told in first person POV by Mikey. He’s a high school senior living in a small town in Washington and has a close-knit group of friends that includes his sister. They live in a world where supernatural things occur but primarily occur to “indie kids,” who are basically Chosen Ones. The regular kids are aware of unusual and supernatural occurrences that happen on their periphery but are just trying to live their own lives. The book covers the last few weeks of Mikey’s and his friends’ senior year.
What I liked:
1) Each chapter starts with a paragraph describing what the indie kids are up to. Patrick Ness takes a tongue-in-cheek approach. For example, chapter 2 starts “Chapter the second, in which indie kid Satchel writes a poem, and her mom and dad give her loving space to just feel what she needs to; then an indie kid called Dylan arrives at her house, terrified, to say a mysterious glowing girl has informed him of the death of indie kid Finn; Satchel and Dylan comfort each other, platonically” (p. 11).
2) How the friendships among Mikey, Henna, Jared, and Mel are portrayed. They are very close to each other, very supportive, and clearly love each other. Mel is Mikey’s sister (1 year older), and I appreciated the strong, positive relationship between Mikey, Mel, and their younger sister Meredith.
3) Mikey and Mel both have mental health concerns. Mel is in recovery from an eating disorder, which is why she’s a year older than Mikey but also a senior. Mikey has OCD. I thought the OCD was portrayed realistically, and what we saw of the eating disorder appeared to be relatively realistic.
4) Mikey’s therapist. It’s so hard to find a therapist in TV, movies, and books that is portrayed reasonably accurately, so this was a lovely change of pace.
The only critique I have is that the characters could have been a little more fleshed out. I recommend the book. 3 stars.