I read this book towards the beginning of this month and absolutely loved it!
I was scrolling through the goodreads reviews for this book and I noticed a common trend- everybody thought it was like the Hunger Games or Divergent! I am telling you right now that it is not. The only similarities are a tough female protagonist, and fear. Lots of fear. Those aren’t exactly concepts unique to the major sci-fi franchises are they? No, they are part of human nature. So yeah. And this is a YA contemporary, if you were wondering
Now, as for what this book is about. It follows some high school seniors, or well, technically they already graduated but you get what I mean, who live in this small town called Carp. Nobody wants to stay in Carp. It is a small town with virtually nothing to do, and the people…. and the circumstances…. overall, it just isn’t a very nice place to live. This paired with the boredom that comes with an event-less summer inspired the start of a game. A game of life-and-death. A game where the stakes are high. Panic.
“How do I know I can trust you?’ she said finally.
‘That’s the thing about trust.’ He crunched an ice cube between his teeth. ‘You don’t know.”
Besides the wonderful plot and engrossing story telling, there is a lot to love about this book. For one, the complexity and diversity of the characters and their relationships with each other. Oliver didn’t leave a single detail out- their families, their friends, their weird quirks- they were all their and created wonderful, whole, individual and unique characters to which I related to. She also managed to make these characters undergo a huge amount of character development throughout the course of the book which I liked. The emotions in this book, whilst more extreme than some of us may have felt in life, are very true and deep and more than once I found myself bolting up, cursing under my breath or shaking my head vigourously throughout the course of reading this book. I was fully invested in the story the entire time. The cover is also wonderfully simplistic and captivating and the texture of the paperback is gorgeous, which is always a bonus!
This book was very touching as well and I loved the complex relationship between Heather and her sister as well as the added elements of the tigers… but I won’t elaborate too much else I will spoil the story. I also liked her complex friendships as I found them very true to life and helped me invest more in her as a person.
“It was so strange, the way that life moved forward: the twists and the dead ends, the sudden opportunities. She supposed if you could predict or foresee everything that was going to happen, you’d lose the motivation to go through it all. The promise was always in the possibility.”
I didn’t really not-like anything about this book- I just didn’t love the pacing of the book at times. This is likely because I was reading it just after I had gone really crazy and read four books in a day (no joke, I actually did this) and right after finishing a 400-something page contemporary which I loved but took me four days to finish. Nevertheless, I did find the pacing a little bit strange with how there would be a lot of time skips. I guess it kind of made sense in the context but I would’ve liked to know a tad more about the characters’ everyday lives. Also, this book is written from multiple perspectives, which, whilst I found them very interesting, and didn’t mind them myself, if you prefer a bit more mystery in your books then it might be a bit frustrating as the other characters POVs give some things away!
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it to anyone who likes larger-than-life contemporaries with a larger focus on self-development, friendship and family than on romance.
“She knew, now, that there was always light—beyond the dark, and the fear, out of the depths; there was sun to reach for, and air and space and freedom.
There was always a way up, and out, and no need to be afraid.”
To see more great quotes from this book click here.
To see amazon.co.uk reviews for this book or to buy it click here. (£3.85 on publishing date of this post: US $6.03)
To buy this book from amazon.com click here. ($9.63 on publishing date of this post: GB £6.15 )