Genre fiction lover: Romance, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Urban Fantasy
Long, meaty book with a soulful, angsty, messy romance at it's center.
The one thing I will say for this book is that at no time did I ever, ever, ever doubt that Donya and Emmet were in love. This was displayed in technicolor in the book. And I appreciated it a lot. I really bought their connection
The writing was really good. Evocative and immediately engaging. I liked the confiding tone of it. It was told in first person Donya's voice. The lion's share of the book takes place in the past, although Donya is narrating the story from her present day perspective. I rather liked the effect.
Outside of the central romance, the thing I liked best about the story was how the author portrayed family. From Donya's dysfunctional blood family to her seamless integration into Emmy and Emmet's extended family and the drama with the cousins, as well as the family they all created as they got older...I enjoyed the various iterations and what it means to be 'family.' I also like how she even though there was a large cast of characters, she didn't lose track of anyone and managed, in a story that spanned roughly 20+ years, to check in with everybody throughout the years.
Under normal circumstances this would be a five-star book. But one thing that takes a star off is I felt a bit of a bait and switch happened here. I don't read YA and I barely read NA. And I would put this book firmly in the YA/NA category.
The book starts off with a smallish prologue that takes place in present day and then goes back to when Emmy and Donya first meet in school when they were six(?) years old. At 65% of the book, Donya was still only 17 years old Emmett was a few years older. By that point she and Emmett had gone through more romantic travail than people twice their age. I was uncomfortable reading steamy, erotica level sex scenes for people who were still minors. I honestly think the teen years went on about 100 pages too long.
It is a testament to the level of the storytelling that I was invested and interested enough to keep reading. But I breathed a sigh of relief when Donya & Emmett finally, FINALLY hit their twenties at least (at around 74% of the book).
And yeah, there were aspects of their romance that felt needlessly complicated. Honestly at one point, I thought to myself 'there really is no reason for you guys to still be apart.' To the author's credit she seemed aware of this too, she basically had a character in the book, Fred, Emmet's father, point this out to the couple in no uncertain terms. He pretty much said said everything I was thinking and he said it in force. I loved Fred!
And yeah the whole thing about them 'feeling' each other wherever with this invisible tether was a bit too woo-woo for me. But overall this was a good book to sink into.