My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Goodreads: A dark and moving novel—reminiscent of Thirteen Reasons Why—about the mystery surrounding a teenage girl’s fatal overdose.
There was something about Ellie... Something dangerous. Charismatic. Broken. Jake looked out for her. Sarah followed her lead. And Jess kept her distance, and kept watch.
Now Ellie’s dead, and Jake, Sarah, and Jess are left to pick up the pieces. All they have are 34 clues she left behind. 34 strips of paper hidden in a box beneath her bed. 34 secrets of a brief and painful life.
Jake, Sarah, and Jess all feel responsible for what happened to Ellie, and all three have secrets of their own. As they begin to confront the darkest truths about themselves, they will also find out what Ellie herself had been hiding all along...
My thoughts: So the premise of this book is that two 17 year old girls overdose on pills and one dies. The story is told between alternating narrators that include Sarah, the girl that lived, Jake, Ellie's brother, and Jessie, Sarah's younger sister. Timelines are all over the place. The marker in time is the night Ellie died in November. Then the three narrators take turns telling pieces of what happened to Ellie, secrets they carry, and guilt that burdens them. They all let Ellie down in one way or another but I found the story dissatisfying and pointless.
Like the book has been advertised, it is similar to 13 Reasons Why or it could be entitled, "How Ellie's Death is All My Fault." To be fair, the main characters eventually learn something from the events but not enough to warrant my time. Ellie is a deeply scarred and disturbed character that for reasons I can't fathom was popular and like able. At the same time, her dark side was ignored, even though people saw it.
All of the characters had secrets. All of them hid their deepest thoughts and desires in a proverbial and figurative box but only Ellie wrote hers down to be discovered. Yet I connected with none of them. Their parents failed them. Their friends fail them. Nobody cares. Okay. Got it. It's angst at its best.
Language is severe. A lot of swearing.
Sex is moderate to severe.
Dialog is heavy.
Subject matter - very heavy yet none delving deeply into any of the broached subjects of suicide, cutting, drug and alcohol use, molestation, sex; both hetero and homosexual, depression, bullying, peer pressure. Basically, it touches on everything but explores nothing. Which led me to where I ended, wondering what was the point of the book.
*I received a free copy of this book from publishing company in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.