Tuesday, November 10, 2015

We'll Never Be Apart by Emiko Jean

A YA thriller, We'll Never Be Apart is one of those books that has left me unsure exactly how I feel about it.

The story is an intriguing one. Alice Monroe is in a mental ward on Savage Isle, locked in with her fractured memories of the fire that killed her boyfriend, a fire that was set by her twin sister. The story is told through present day scenes, as well as journal entry flashbacks. As Alice regains more of her memories, the readers learn more about what happened.

So why am I left giving this book a middling score?

On the one hand, I found it really gripping. I read it in about twenty four hours, and felt my heart in my throat in a couple places towards the end as the action really started to pick up. I definitely wanted to keep reading to find out the truth behind what happened.

On the other hand, it read as frankly ridiculous at times. Even accounting for sweeps of the imagination and unreal, given the setting and protagonists, parts of it just seemed overwrought and so unlikely. To me, the main twist was slightly predictable, but mostly reasonable given the context of the story itself, but so many little moments just jolted me out of the story with how unlikely they truly were.

Also, I found it completely impossible to like Cellie, the twin sister, at all. I suspect this was done purposefully by the author, but having a main character so unlikable with seemingly no true redeeming qualities can make for a less than engaging read. I did not completely find myself on the side of most of the other main characters as well, which was also an issue. I completely understand that because of their circumstances, the author wanted readers to find them sympathetic in their flawed natures, but Jean went, in my opinion, too far in emphasizing those flaws.

In the end, this was a suspenseful, flawed book with an interesting twist that kept me flipping pages, and left me somewhat unsatisfied. I'd be curious to see what Emiko Jean comes out with next as she grows more as a writer.

2.5/5 stars

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