My rating: 3 of 5 stars
[actual rating: 3.5 stars]
Carver Briggs, has a normal life with his best friend's “Sauce Crew” who do everything in life together. After sending one fateful text of an inquiry of location to Mars, Blake, and Eli who were driving somewhere, all three are killed in a car crash instantly. Left as the only survivor of the squad, Carver questions who’s to blame for this terrible event that made his life spin out of control.
TW for this review: self-harm, suicide, homophobia
I have extremely mixed opinions about this book. On one hand, I perceive this as a beautiful celebration of life, and on the other hand, there were some extremely problematic sections in the text which really bothered me and wasn’t amusing. Therefore I will try to divide this review into two sections:
“For the most part, you don't hold the people you love in your heart because they rescued you from drowning or pulled you from a burning house. Mostly you hold them in your heart because they save you, in a million quiet and perfect ways, from being alone.”
At its heart, this is an exploration of grief, guilt, and the fear of moving forward while leaving such a big part of yourself behind. The blurb really caught my attention, because I feel like this could be a cautionary tale for teenagers to think about what they do and what consequences can result because of this. Don’t mistake the stereotype of this genre, this is far from a fluffy contemporary.
The mental illness representation in my opinion, was quite accurate. (view spoiler)[The MC gets multiple anxiety attacks and goes to the hospital, and then goes for weekly counseling sessions and takes his meds,etc. (hide spoiler)]
“He grins and starts making elaborate tying motions with his hands. He fits an invisible noose around his neck, tightens it, and jerks it upward, sticking his tongue out the side of his mouth. I stifle a laugh and pantomime opening a bottle of pills and dumping the whole thing in my throat… We meet eyes again. Under his deck, Blake of pantomimes cutting his wrist.”
These lines are inexcusable and should not be even placed in the text. There is no correction, Blake and Carver consider this whole action sequence as a joke, because they are currently in a classroom with a shitty teacher that pisses them off. Nevertheless, there is no excuse for this type of disgusting joking of attempted suicide.
“Yeah, well you’re gayer than… riding a white pony through a field of dicks… ‘It’s cool dude. We just need to have a gay-joke training montage, where you’re running while I ride my bike, and lifting weights while screaming gay jokes, all in preparation for your redemption from this humiliating defeat.”
Not having or having a gay friend doesn’t give you the excuse to make these homophobic, and then while apologizing saying: “There aren’t really homophobic. None of us are. We just---didn’t think.” Excuses excuses who do you think you are?
“Funny how people move through this world leaving little pieces of their story with the people they meet, for them to carry. Makes you wonder what'd happen if all those people put their puzzle pieces together.”
Yet quotes like these make me recognize the value that this book brings. Quotes like this blow my mind and make me love Zentner’s writing style even more.
**Thanks to bloggingforbooks and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**
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