* ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review *
I’ve been really behind on my reading list with all of the time I’ve been spending with my family during the holidays. Now that my break is over and I need to go back to my lab, I’m hoping I will still be able to squeeze in time for more books. I sat down last night and read this book until the wee hours, which is honestly when I am at my best in terms of focusing. This novel is quite unique, and you’re soon going to find out why!
When Lizzie Lovett goes missing, everyone is shocked. Perfect, beautiful, charming Lizzie Lovett gone without a trace?! A tragedy by all means. Teenage misfit Hawthorn Creely doesn’t think so. But with the whole town caught up in this mystery, Hawthorn decides to do some investigating on her own. Hawthorn doesn’t mean to be nosy but now that she has an interesting theory about what led to Lizzie’s disappearance, she will do anything to prove that she’s right, even if it means immersing herself in Lizzie’s life completely. This means taking her job …. and maybe even her boyfriend. What Hawthorn never expected is that while she’s been looking for Lizzie, she might have found her true self instead.
In the beginning, I didn’t really like Hawthorn. I thought she was really annoying, self-centered, and behaved really immaturely for someone who is a senior in high school. As the story progressed, my opinion changed. Hawthorn continued to make silly comments and acted in an immature way but it was tempered with growing self-awareness of the way others perceive her. She stopped victimizing herself and became so much stronger. This whole story isn’t really about Lizzie so if you are looking for some kind of thriller, you will be grossly disappointed. This novel is a coming-of-age story about a misfit who finally learns to love herself and appreciate her uniqueness. And for that reason, I loved the story. I could empathize with Hawthorn; I know what it’s like to never fit in and deal with bullying on an everyday basis. I know what it’s like to want to be loved and to have someone “get” you when no one else does. The author did a fantastic job showing how her desperation for these things leads to questionable decisions, and how she bounces back when things go south. The writing style also made this story an enjoyable read. With every word, I felt compelled to keep going, keep reading about Hawthorn and her family, and all the ways in which people are affected by tragedy. Overall, this is a great teen fiction story, and I can’t wait to read more by this author!