You know a book is going to be intense when it starts out with a literal “bang.” Ellery has a gun and she is absolutely not afraid to use it – in fact, we meet her mere minutes before she pulls the trigger and attempts to commit suicide. It’s a decidedly dramatic way get to know someone.
But when the gun refuses to go off, foiling her suicide attempts, Ellery’s life gets more complicated than ever as she hurries to come up with another plan and end her life before anyone can stop her.
I have to admit, I had a hard time getting into this book at first. Aside from the jarring entrance, I didn’t immediately connect with Ellery, and I didn’t feel heavily invested in the story. BUT I AM SO GLAD THAT I STUCK IT OUT because this is a book that gets better with every page turn. By the end, I was riveted and I could not put it down.
Sure, it’s a bit of a slow start (despite the intense opening scene), but once you get into the meat of the story I’m certain you, too, will be hooked. Colter makes for an excellent YA love interest, and rather than some silly insta-love story designed to swoop in and save Ellery from her demons, the romance here blossoms naturally and doesn’t become a “savior trope” to solve all of Ellery’s problems for her. Falling in love doesn’t make her suddenly stop wanting to be dead. She has some real issues to work through, and I was thrilled to see a YA novel dealing with suicidal depression without using any “magic band-aid” tropes to tie everything up nice and neatly by the end. Instead, we have real characters who have to learn and grow like the rest of us do – through trial and error, hard work, and a lot of help from the people who love us.
For those reasons, I adored the ending, and felt like it tied enough things up to satisfy me while still making it clear that the characters have a long way to go before things are truly going to be healed/solved.
This is a book about the struggle to overcome one’s past and find a new way forward towards the future. It’s heartbreaking and hopeful all in one, and it’s the perfect book for anyone struggling with grief or loss or depression.
Rating: 4/5 stars