When Danny digs deeper into his parents' past, he uncovers a secret that disturbs the foundations of his family history and the carefully constructed facade his parents have maintained begins to crumble. With everything he loves in danger of being stripped away, Danny must face the ghosts of the past in order to build a future that belongs to him.
Synopsis from Goodreads
I’m a sucker for a great book cover and this book immediately caught my eye with the graffiti and bright colors/across the front of the page. When I started reading the inside cover, I was very excited about the idea of reading contemporary novel that seemed like it was both realistic and yet not a light read. I got the sense from the beginning that this was going to cover a lot of things but I really didn’t know where the story was going to go. I ended up loving Danny’s story and getting to experience this part of his life with him. It felt very real and it was coming from very different place than anything I’ve experienced, which makes it that much more interesting for me.
It’s great to read a book from the point of view of a flawed character; not a villain, but simply a teenager who makes some wrong choices. Danny isn’t a bad guy, but he is still a kid and makes some decisions that make me want to shake him! But these choices are also what makes him such a relatable character; we’ve all been in positions where we need to make a choice, and we don’t necessarily choose the right one. It’s often easier to choose the easy choice instead. I felt throughout this book that we really see Danny’s growth into a more mature young man, as opposed to the kid that he is when we first start reading. Some big changes happen for him in a very short amount of time and it’s really nice to be able to see the raw and honest way he handles these changes in his life. So although he’s flawed, I really liked him!
It was Like Unraveling Many Mysteries
There are so many different storylines happening, and I was hooked on all of them! I really appreciated how Gilbert expertly handled each of these stories to make sure they were all handled well and equally. And honestly, it was so great to read a YA contemporary book that handled real problems without speaking down to the reader or using a very isolated and unrelatable problem as a crutch. I absolutely loved the way that this story was written — the build up to the answers of all the questions we have was an excellent journey and I felt that all the loose ends were very well tied up at the end. One of my favourite things about this book was the POVs, one of which we don’t actually get until about halfway through. Storytelling is an art and to me, Gilbert is a gifted artist.
All Topics are Handled So Well!
This book was such a standout read to me because it covers so much: race, suicide, adoption, lying, cheating, and a character trying to figure out how to come out. None of these problems were dismissed; all were handled with patience and there was a slow build as we learned what was happening in Danny’s life. I don’t want to give too many spoilers because part of the joy of this book is both unraveling the mysteries and understanding these heavy issues that keep coming up. I will say that Gilbert does an amazing job handling every situation that Danny runs into, and none of these situations are out of the ordinary for what many teenagers today are facing. I think it was so impressive how she took problems and issues that are occurring to teenagers across the world and put them into a relatable context, giving us a flawed hero who we can root for and see how he handles these things.
I walked into this book with zero expectations because I didn’t really know what the story was going to be about. I’m so happy I picked it up, because I love the way the story came to life and cannot say enough how amazing the storytelling of this novel really is. I will definitely find the other book by Gilbert and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next; this was a great read and will be something I recommend to others. I’m really happy I picked up this book and I hope if you give it a read you will be too!
FINAL RATING: 4.5/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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