This was one of the first books I picked up at YALC and I do not regret it. It’s also the first Katherine Webber book I have read and I now can’t wait to pick up Wing Jones. The story of this is so beautiful and I really do rate it highly.
The book follows Reiko, a popular girl who is struggling with herself and how she identifies in the world. There isn’t much revealed about the plot and I don’t want to spoil it so it will have to be kept vague!
The characters in this are really brilliant. Reiko is realistically flawed and we see her bad points and good points – she often recognises throughout the book herself where she has been wrong in the way she has treated people. Nobody in this book is faultless or to the other extreme of completely awful which is refreshing as many stories have one dimensional characters and it just doesn’t make sense and lessens the value.
Of course, we know that there will be heartbreak in this book – the title very much suggests it. I personally found this a great part of the story. Without spoiling too much, Katherine Webber writes something unlike most YA stories I’ve read. We are shown the beginning of the relationship, a sweet connection that seems unique to everyone else around them. However, we are also shown the breakdown of the relationship, bit by bit in a way which made me feel upset, anger and pity towards the characters.
I found the storyline different to a lot of YA love stories – we don’t see much heartbreak in this way. Often we either see the breakdown of a relationship or the end of a relationship without seeing the setup so we aren’t to attached to the ex/current partner because we’ve only seen the ‘bad’ aspects of the relationship. Whilst reading this book, I found myself rooting for Reiko and Seth whilst also knowing this can’t last and not wanting it to last. You go through the emotions with Reiko and understand where she is coming from with how she acts and what she does throughout the novel.
I was always on Reiko’s side but I was sometimes critical about the way she was acting – just like you are with a good friend. I’m a very empathetic person and I think this book is one which particularly draws on empathy – and I always love that.
One more thing I loved was the setting of the desert! It did romanticise many aspects of the story but I loved it! There were so many wonderful scenes that took place in the desert and it sometimes felt like a second protagonist because it was that important to the story. It was described so beautifully that even though I’ve never been to America or anywhere anything like Palm Springs, I felt like I was there myself.
I definitely recommend this book (and if you’re struggling for a Christmas present, take a look at this!) and think it would attract a wide range of people. Have you read this book? What are your thoughts?