After reading My Sister lives on the Mantlepiece earlier on in the year, I found that I was actually quite reluctant to pick this one up. I liked but didn't love her first novel, and so was so scared of feeling the same way about this one, especially because this was the one I was more excited about. However, it certainly did not disappoint. It provided a complete contrast to My Sister whilst still including similarities, and I honestly really enjoyed it.
This book tells the story of a girl we call Zoe (her real name is only revealed at the very end of the book) as she writes letters to a criminal on death row. For someone who adores different writing styles, the letter format of this one instantly boosted my excitement levels before reading and my enjoyment whilst reading. It made the book alot more informal and chattier, something which had both its advantages and its disadvantages. It did help to make the book alot easier to read and more relatable at times, but it also made the main character seem slightly immature as well at points as it seemed as though the language was dumbed down instead of just made slightly less formal. However, I did like the format as it made the book that little bit more interesting.
But, apart from finding Zoe slightly immature at times, I did generally like all the characters. I really liked all of the members of her family as well as her friend Lauren, although, if I'm being picky, I would have liked to have seen more made of their friendship as it didn't really stand out hugely to me. I also liked the character of Max, not because I liked him as a person particularly, but because of how I slowly began to see why he was like that and how bad I felt for him towards the end. However, no matter how bad I felt for Max, I do have to admit that my favourite of them all was Aaron, who I can't imagine someone not loving. He was just so honest and just a really good character overall.
One part of the plot which I did like seeing was the family element. I really enjoyed reading about a very normal family whose problems aren't unbelievable but also aren't non-existent. Due to this, I also liked the sub-plots which often revolved around her family as it just made a story which on the surface seems so mad seem so much more real and relatable.
Finally, a book is nothing if it doesn't have a good storyline - and this one certainly did. The mystery works so well in this that you can't help but want to read on just to find out what actually happened, all the twists and turns reminding the reader why they need to. As for the ending: its believable without being obvious, and is certainly a satisfying conclusion. The last scene is so heartbreaking yet still the only way it could have ended. So overall, I would say that this book is definitely worth a read, no matter if you enjoyed Pitcher's first novel or not, or even if you have yet to read anything by her.
Character(s): Aaron, Soph
Scene(s): Aaron and Zoe outside the library
Quote(s): In real life things don't build up nicely to a climax, in actual facts moments occur out of the blue and there's no warning.
Song(s): She Used to be Mine - Sara Bareilles
Treacherous - Taylor Swift
Other Book(s): We Were Liars by E. Lockhart