Well, I just got done reading this and sitting in a long-cold bubble bath sobbing my face off. Because it is that good. I highlighted giant chunks of the thing because both the writing and the messages were just so damned beautiful.
Sisters Mae and Hannah have just lost their parents in a horrific tsunami, and have absolutely no idea how to move forward. Because who would, honestly? Mae is incredibly science and logic focused, which makes her grieving even more difficult, as there is no logic in grief. Hannah had been struggling with drug use since before their deaths, and obviously the loss of her parents shattered her even further, and sent her spiraling even more.
As they move across the country to live with their (incredibly loving) aunt, uncle, and cousin, they have to figure out how to rebuild. And there is a lot going on in both girls' lives beyond just the loss of their parents. Mae needs to decide if she can and should leave her sister to follow her lifelong dream of being an astronaut, or if she needs to change her trajectory. She finds a great friend in her cousin Nate, and Nate's friend Ben who is kind of the best and also kind of more than a friend. Hannah is recovering from an abortion that she isn't sure she wanted to have, in addition to the addiction. She's pulled from her long-time boyfriend Micah, and feels more alone than ever. She also finds out a secret about their parents that is eating away at her as she tries to spare her sister the pain.
There are so many tremendous side characters in this book, not all of whom I can even mention for fear of spoilers. I loved that the girls had so many supports (and they both acknowledge that they are quite lucky, too) especially in their family who were willing to step up to help them through this. They not only need to learn to navigate these new relationships (or rather, closer relationships) with extended family, but their new normals with each other.
And look, this book is heavy. It isn't a quick or easy read. But it just so lovely, so full of heart, and at the end of the day, so hopeful, that it is completely worth the journey.
Bottom Line: It's a story about the triumph and resilience of the human spirit against all odds. It's love overcoming death, and there's nothing greater than that.
**Trigger warning for death, grief, abortion, assault, attempted suicide, drug addiction/overdose
- Started reading
- 24 April, 2020: Finished reading
- 24 April, 2020: Reviewed