Disclaimer: I received this book from LBYR and The Novl! Thanks! All opinions are my own.
Book Series: Standalone
Publication Date: April 23, 2019
Genre: YA Contemporary/Magical Realism
Recommended Age: 15+ (TW suicide, gore, TW rape, and language)
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Synopsis: Magpie Lewis started writing in her yellow notebook the day her family self-destructed. That was the night Eryn, Magpie’s sister, skipped town and left her to fend for herself. That was the night of Brandon Phipp’s party.
Now, Magpie is called a slut whenever she walks down the hallways of her high school, her former best friend won’t speak to her, and she spends her lunch period with a group of misfits who’ve all been socially exiled like she has. And so, feeling trapped and forgotten, Magpie retreats to her notebook, dreaming up a place called Near.
Near is perfect–somewhere where her father never cheated, her mother never drank, and Magpie’s own life never derailed so suddenly. She imagines Near so completely, so fully, that she writes it into existence, right in her own backyard. It’s a place where she can have anything she wants…even revenge.
Review: I thought overall this was a very thought provoking book. It’s emotional and raw and it really encapsulates how divorce and family scandal and rape really affect a teenager. I really felt for Magpie and I wanted just to give her a hug. I feel like this book is well developed and the plot is interesting throughout the novel. The book is also well written.
However, I am so confused by what I just read about this book. I’m still thinking about whether it’s really a book about escapism or if it has moments of real magical realism. I feel like this book, which is supposedly set in the modern time, reaches a bit to remain modern. A lot of the issues could have been solved by simple new technological advancements. I also have a hard time believing that in a time period where kids are glued to their phones the liars are getting called out by simple things that can be solved by filming the event or photos. The ending is also sour, I feel like we were supposed to feel sympathy for this victim blamer and slut shamer because her life got a little hard, but not nearly as hard as the main character. I don’t know, I’m just overall confused.
Verdict: I’m still thinking about this book and I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.