Okay, backing up a bit here. I have never read anything by E. Lockhart. I was convinced into reading this by countless, countless recommendations on Twitter, and also the amazing price of 99p on Kindle. I blasted through the sample in about 5 minutes and immediately bought the whole book, and oh. Wow.
So what is this book about? Well, I am one of the first people to say that we hardly need any more books about rich white girls and their problems. Lockhart handles the topics of race and poverty delicately, acknowledging the characters’ privilege every step of the way while still reminding the reader that just because someone leads a privileged life, it doesn’t mean that their life is problem-free. Cadence Sinclair is one of those girls that has everything from the outside. Her family own a frigging island, for fuck’s sake. It seems like, before the accident (which we will come to in a moment), her life was charmed, and no-one could be blamed for a little eye-rolling about her main problem being that her mother (who she calls Mummy) is constantly fighting with her aunts about who gets the most money when their dad dies. I mean, come on. People are starving.
But Gat is introduced, and in this way Lockhart (I’m sorry, I just keep going all Gilderoy) teaches Cady, and the reader, to open their eyes a little wider and see what the Sinclair family looks like from the point of view of an outsider. Not only an outsider, but someone of a different race, background, and political viewpoint. I heard his frustration and his anger, and perhaps even his jealousy that all the Sinclair family had, they had because they were born into it.
I find Cady as a character intensely interesting, and absolutely cannot wait to read the whole thing again, knowing what I now know.
The writing style just hooked me in immediately. I absolutely love writing that is a bit weird and tugs you around and doesn’t let go. I love to dip in and out of different scenes and read backstory and go through things in a non-chronological way and hear the voice exactly how the character hears it. I loved the injury metaphors particularly.
Blood gushed rhythmically from my open wound, then from my eyes, my ears, my mouth. It tasted like salt and failure.
I loved having to piece together the story. I loved having to constantly tear down and re-build the world I was imagining based on tiny clues and hints peppered throughout the story. I loved the princess stories and how they changed and reflected back upon the characters. I loved the fragmented thought from Cady when she was confused or remembering or having a migraine. This was really my kind of book and my kind of writing.
If you liked… you’ll like this.
Adult fiction: Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson; The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
YA: Cruel Summer by James Dawson, The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Rape mentions, violence, death, family arguments, animal abuse/neglect.