When V’s life crumbles around her, she has two options: let it take her down with it or dive straight in
Virginia “V” Dunn is alone when her dog is hit by a car. Lucky’s back leg is shattered, and when she comforts him, his blood is wet on her hands. Suddenly, the monotony of V’s suburban life dissolves: Lucky is in a cast; her best friend, Eileen, is avoiding her; her mother’s drinking is getting worse; and her father is sick with a mysterious illness. Although V is surrounded by family, she is the loneliest girl in town.
As V begins to question everything—death, friendship, family, betrayal—she finds there are few easy answers. The people she thought she knew are strangers, and life’s meaning eludes her. Into this mystery walks the captivating Jane, and V soon realizes that the only way forward seems to break every rule, and go beyond all limitations.
This book follows Virginia who was getting ready to go to school when her dog was hit by a car. A man helps take Virginia to the vet where she is able to save the dog, but her mother will not pay for the surgery so she needs to start working at the vet to pay the bill off. The book jumps right into the action with the dog.
The book is completely told through the eyes and thoughts of Virginia who at different times doesn't fully know how to express her emotions. Virginia is going through a tough time in her life with her dog being hit by a car, her father getting a mysterious illness, her mother losing it and her best friend going MIA. When Virginia is thinking sometimes it doesn't always flow together like bits and pieces are missing or she just doesn't know exactly what she is feeling. The missing emotions makes sense since she is so young and going through a large amount of issues in her life. Also, Virginia is trying to take care of her younger sister and shield her from some of the drama.
I loved Virginia as a character in the book. She gets thrown right into the action and handles herself very well. We get to read a lot of her inner thoughts which do seem conflicted, but she usually ends up saying the right thing at the time of the situation or doing the right thing. She keeps calling herself the best liar because sometimes what she says and what she actually thinks are completely different things. In my mind Virginia is a typical teenage going through a rough patch trying to piece things together and make her life work. I love the bond that Virginia and her younger sister Baby Teeth have. They do share a room, which I believe makes them closer, but Virginia is always looking out for Baby Teeth and has her best intentions in her mind.
Another aspect of the book that I loved was the bond that developed between Virginia and her family when her father was sick. Virginia became a very central piece for the family and really a backbone. She was able to get her brother to open up a little bit, protect her sister from knowing what is going on, and actually take care of her mom. It was a lot of responsibility for someone to take on, but Virginia did it with no issues. In a time of crisis I know how challenging it can be and to have a strong family member it does help others to get through the situation as well.
I didn't love the writing style at some points in the book, which might seem contradictory to some other points I did bring up, but I felt like it lead to some confusion. I understand that the book is told through Virginia's thoughts only, but there were parts of the book that I felt confused and had to go back and reread. Virginia was not always elaborating on what was going on and it became slightly hard to follow at some points in the book. I would have loved for Virginia to give more descriptions and sort of stream line her thoughts at some points in the book to make it a little less confusing for the reader.
Another issue I didn't so much love in the book was Jane. I felt like she just came into the book to late and her character didn't really get developed. I felt like the relationship was just rushed and something as an add on by the author. I felt like the relationship between Jane and Virginia could have easily been elaborate on, but since Virginia had so much going on in her life it felt to me more like a background issue instead of an important life issue.
I would suggest this as a nighttime read. It is easy to follow along and pickup where you left off reading. It is also a good weekend read since it is a short read so it can easily be read in one day.
I received a copy of this book from Red Moon Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinion of this book.
My Rating: 3/5
Sometimes the night never ends; it just breaks into light and we pretend. I am alive, though I tend to forget that when I’m pretending, and I’m fifteen. I have sweeping dark hair and hazel eyes that turn green when I cry. Sometimes I rub my hands together, maybe just to see if it’s really me. I wear the glasses I’m supposed to wear when I’m in the mood and when- ever I remember my sunglasses because the day hurts my eyes. Maybe the pretending has torn the edges of who I am, so the result is a frayed and sensitive me.
If the night never ends, who can see? The day boils down to pretending what is and is not there. Because she does not want me to, I do not see the black eye on my mother’s face as the bruise changes, fades a blotchy red to a tattered purple, then spreads to flat green.
Because he assumes nobody does, I do not see the increasingly bloodshot eyes of my brother as he stares past me at dinner. And I do not see the raised eyebrows on Baby Teeth’s face that settle more frequently into surprise as she watches and help-lessly learns this pretending game. I wish I could tell her she doesn’t have to play, though if she’s to survive life in this house, she will.
So I do not notice that on the days that we do not go to the hospital, she spends every afternoon at other people’s houses now. And I especially do not see the absence of my father at dawn when he does not kiss the sleeping Baby Teeth good-bye before he climbs down the stairs in his solid brown shoes and goes to work. And I do not see his absence as I pass his empty chair at night when I walk into the kitchen to feed my dog. The last thing I do not see is my tilting, limping Lucky as he waits by his empty bowl, or the image of the vile green VW that hit him.
So what do I see? That I have learned to pretend so well, I can do it with my eyes open. April has ended, and its cruelty too, I hope, when we weren’t looking, or were busy pretending, or maybe while we slept.
So it’s May. And what does it bring? April showers bring May flowers. Well, really. I try to remember, uncertainly, if there was a lot of rain last month. No. But please flower anyway, all over me. I’ll keep my eyes open. Maybe it won’t happen all at once, the way change seems to. Now that’s something. Change blooms.
Stacey Donovan is a critically acclaimed author of fiction and nonfiction for adults and young adults. She is the founder of Donovan Edits, and has edited or ghostwritten more than twenty-five books, including three New York Times bestsellers and several nonfiction titles that have become leading works in their respective fields. Donovan lives in New York, where she continues to write and edit.