“The best way to avoid having your heart broken was to pretend you don’t have one.”
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
I am sad to report that I am super bummed by this book. If you know me, you know that We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is one of my favorite books ever. I read this book back in 2014 and still gush about it all the time. We Were Liars, has one of the best if not THE best plot twists I have ever read before. So I told myself anything else this author publishes I will be reading, no questions asked. When I saw this book at my library I knew I needed to read it so I picked up and immediately was sucked into the story. The synopsis of the book goes as follows:
From the author of the unforgettable New York Timesbestseller We Were Liars comes a masterful new psychological suspense novel–the story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.
Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.
HOW AMAZING DOES THAT SOUND?!
I was instantly sold, and the first chapter really did live up the hype but sadly it pretty much ended there also. For starters, this book was extremely hard to follow. But I gave it the benefit of the doubt because so was We Were Liars, but I figured it would all tie in nicely at the end. Now when I saw very hard to follow I don’t mean the writing was bad because it was REALLY, REALLY GOOD. The story starts out being told in the present, Jules is living an extravagant lifestyle under a different identity, which is 100% stolen, and then meets a suspicious woman who she thinks is a cop. Jules tries to run away but the cop is on to her AND THEN the story jumps into the past (each chapter going weeks, months, and years into the past), then it jumps back into the present. The timeline of this book is just crazy and I got about halfway through this book before I realized that the story was actually being in told in reverse going further and further into the past with each chapter. Once I realized this it was much easier to follow but I feel like I missed out on a lot of information in the first half of the book because I had no idea what was happening.
At the same time, however, I did kind of like this concept of how the story was being told because it felt like unwrapping a giant present in slow motion. I just wish that initially it was much easier to follow OH AND NOT SO SPOILER ALERT BUT MAYBE A TINY BIT SPOILERY, the present is really boring once you open it.
Which brings us to the next thing I was so disappointed with. The ending. I promise no spoilers. BUT WHYYYYYYYY. WHY. WHY. WHY. WHY. WHY?! Like, I understand the idea behind it but it was so unsatisfying. When I finished the book I actually checked to make sure I finished it, I thought maybe a chapter was missing, or even just a few more page with more of an explanation. The last 25% of the book to being super compelling and the ending was just so bland, I felt like I read the book for nothing because there really was no resolution. Like I said, I get it, but just UGH WHY?!
Before you think I hate this book entirely, here is something I did like. I really enjoyed Jules. For starters she is a complete psychopath, and I appreciate a good, well-written psychopath. She was also one of the most unreliable characters I’ve ever read. Which was super fun because:
1. readers cannot believe anything she says
2. you will spend majority of this book trying to figure out who Jules is, is she even really Jules? Honestly, I still don’t know
Her character alone will make you want to finish this book because you just need to get down to the bottom of figuring out who she is, what she did, and what she plans on doing in the future. And you won’t figure it out until the very last page. The who is she and what she did questions certainly didn’t disappoint in my opinion but the what she planned in doing in the future is where the story really fell short for me. It was just so unsatisfying. I wish I could have liked it more but unfortunately I finished this book feeling confused and disappointed with the end.
All in all, while this story fell short for me I still did enjoy Jules and the writing style once I figured it out. I would still definitely recommend this book to those who enjoy psychological thrillers because the general opinion on Goodreads seems to be more positive than negative. I think I may have went into this comparing it too much to We Were Liars. However, you can still bet that I will be reading anything this author publishes in the future.
Until next time!