Wow. Well it’s safe to say that this book really surprised me. I have to give credit to this author, the way in which she told this story was so incredibly smart, for so many different reasons. Seriously. The jumping around from past to present was FLAWLESSLY done. The two worked together in perfect harmony to deliver a whole package that was quite fantastic. This book wouldn’t have worked even half as well any other way. Bit by brutal bit we got to see how so much of TifAni’s past shaped who she was in the future. While, admittedly, the past flashbacks were probably the most interesting parts, I also enjoyed the present more because of them after awhile.
One thing I’ve noticed that seems to be a new trend in some contemporary books in the past few years, which I kind of love, are stories where the main character, or voice of the story, isn’t exactly the greatest of people. Sometimes they’re downright unlikeable. When this is done correctly, it can be brilliant. I think Knoll did an amazing balancing act with TifAni, she wasn’t someone I can really say that really liked, on the other hand, she also wasn’t someone I hated. The plot was just so well done that I think it was darn close to impossible not to be invested in the story, even if you weren’t necessarily that invested in the main character. I know that once the flashbacks started I was glued to the pages. I couldn’t wait to get all the answers of what exactly happened back then, and better understand why Ani was the way she was now.
Say what you will about Ani’s sometimes nerve grating strive for her version of perfection, I have to admit that there were times when I thought some of her brutally honest thoughts pretty spot on!
Don’t get me wrong, Ani certainly had an overabundance of delusions, but I’m just sayin’, at times, she had an uncanny way of reading people and situations.
Funny enough, Ani vaguly reminded me of a Blair Waldrof type. She was the girl who seemed to easily have it all on the surface, but in reality she worried and worked her tail feathers off to get everything to appear that way to other people. I got the feeling that Ani solidly knew what she wanted, but had very little clue as to what she actually needed. Getting peeks into her childhood was enlightening as well. While I think that the whole striving to fit in with the in crowd thing is something that most teenagers deal with at one point or another.
It was kind of sad to see that Ani never really progressed from that stage, even in to adulthood. It was also heartbreaking to see how that same desire for acceptance affected the huge decisions that Ani made in her younger years, that ultimately still haunted her in the present.
I think that, at least for me, the fact that almost all of the big events and struggles in this book were so close to things that happen in real life, that this story tugged on my heartstrings even more because of that. And enough to make me sweat considering I have my own young teenage daughter to worry over! All in all this was a thought provoking, rollercoaster ride of a story and I highly recommend it!
I received an ARC of this book from Simon & Schuster via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review