My name is Calla Price. I’m eighteen years old, and I’m one half of a whole.
My other half– my twin brother, my Finn– is crazy.
I love him. More than life, more than anything. And even though I’m terrified he’ll suck me down with him, no one can save him but me.
I’m doing all I can to stay afloat in a sea of insanity, but I’m drowning more and more each day. So I reach out for a lifeline.
He’s my savior and my anti-Christ. His arms are where I feel safe, where I’m afraid, where I belong, where I’m lost. He will heal me, break me, love me and hate me.
He has the power to destroy me.
Maybe that’s ok. Because I can’t seem to save Finn and love Dare without everyone getting hurt.
Why? Because of a secret.
A secret I’m so busy trying to figure out, that I never see it coming.
You won’t either.
“Do you know what it’s like to not be able to change something?”
How do you even beginning reviewing a book that left you utterly speechless? This fascinating, astonishing, gripping story completely mesmerised me, stealing my mind away from the very first sentence and bewitching it with a reality that kept me questioning everything in it. Including my own mind. Unlike anything I have ever read before—from its atmospheric setting and the level of detail in every single scene, to the meticulous pace and unexpected points of view—this phenomenal book quite literally consumed me cover to cover. I felt mentally ‘stranded’ at the end of it, unable to return to normal life and stop thinking about all that unfolded, and you know what? I absolutely adored every mind-wrecking moment of it.
“…it should’ve been me in the first place. Finn is a better person than I am… Finn really is better. He’s funny and witty and smart, and his soul is as gentle as they come. He’s the one who deserved to be healthy. Not me. I’m the snarky, sarcastic one.”
Calla Price is an eighteen-year-old girl from a small coastal town, whose unusual childhood of being raised in a funeral home has made her the target of constant mockery and ostracism by other kids of her age. But nothing in her young life has touched her as deeply and as permanently as growing up with a twin brother whose mental disorder has forced her to act as his protector ever since he first started hearing violent voices in his head as a small child. She has often felt unworthy of her own mental stability, wishing it had been her born ill rather than her kind, beloved brother—the brother who has always run to her to quiet the demons in his head and seek comfort from her—but she has embraced her role as his guardian with no regrets, putting his wellbeing before anything and anyone else.
“I’m the one he comes to when he’s afraid.”
But it is her mother’s sudden death that changes Calla’s life forever, leaving the family under a heavy cloud of grief, disconnected and adrift, and leaving Calla drowning in her own heartache and guilt for the hand she believes she played in that tragedy. Facing her last summer at home before she goes to college, Calla’s life sees its first ray of hope when she meets Dair, a handsome but mysterious young traveller, whose mere presence in her life starts awakening something in Calla that she’s never felt before—optimism. However, the more time she spends with Dair and the more happiness she feels while in his company, the more her guilt grows. And that guilt is only exacerbated by the evident deterioration of Finn’s mental state. By hearing her brother’s voice as well, we see the true extent of his illness, we get to witness it firsthand, and it is a frightening sight. But we also see his unconditional love for his sister and his inner struggle to stay as sane as he can be for her sake. And we see the way her growing closeness to Dair affects him, how much he needs things to stay the same, and how guilty he feels for feeling that way.
Dare, however, is not just a handsome Englishman who gallops in and steals Calla from the reality of her own life—his own secrets weigh heavily upon him, affecting his every interaction with her, and setting the pace for the way their relationship develops.
“You’re going to be the death of me.”
“Because you’re so much better than I deserve.”
A slow building, carefully plotted scenario, a psychological thriller of sorts, which then culminates in a jaw-dropping finale which sends our minds racing in a million different directions. I am not sure a review could ever truly capture the mood of this book, the unique way it plays with our minds, because every single word in it serves a multitude of purposes, manipulating our thoughts being just one of them. I was so totally immersed in it all that I felt every icy raindrop, every chilly breeze, every lazy sea wave. I absolutely adored this story and even though it leaves us in a happy-for-now place, I am already hungry for more. But also very happy to wait a little while I put my poor heart back together stitch by stitch…
“You make me feel guilty… Because you make me forget that I’m sad.”
✤ ✤ ✤
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