This young adult novel was intense and engrossing from start to finish. It opens with a funeral, and you immediately get a sense of Sydney, her best friend Olivia, her mom, and out-of-her-league June Copeland. Sydney thinks that there is more to her therapist father’s death in a car crash. Is there? Or is something else going on? Who is keeping secrets in this small town? And would they kill for it?
The story is told in the first person, so you are immersed in Sydney’s thoughts and feelings as she struggles to cope with her shock, rage and grief, going back to school, interacting with the people in her life, and how some of those relationships are changing.
I think the author did a super job of showing us what life is like for Sydney, who has to deal with bullying because of her sexual orientation, her advanced vocabulary and her reputation as an oddball. She may have found a kindred spirit in June, but June is hiding something. While I guessed fairly early what might be happening, I was still surprised by how things played out and on the edge of my seat for the climactic scenes.
The author wrote convincingly of Sydney’s very painful bereavement. I found it hard to read at times, because it brought up memories of my own father’s death. When a writer can elicit such strong feelings in a reader, that is a wonderful achievement. I recommend this book for 14+