Author: Suzanne Kamata
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewer: Jessica Higgins
Definitely not what I was expecting.
Elise Faulkner loves her home close to Lake Michigan. She has never been one for social functions, as she is more prone to read a good book or send pen pal letters to other girls around the world that she has never met. However, her mom wants her to be more like her sister, who has an active boyfriend and goes out all the time. So, she sets her up with a neighbor’s granddaughter who is visiting. When Elsie meets Chiara, she starts making a friend right away. Chiara is different from other people and doesn’t care what anyone thinks. She also doesn’t think any of the dreams that Elise has are weird. They really hit it off great, but Chiara is far from a positive role model. She is a drinker, smoker, and likes to skip school. She even manages to talk Elise into taking a road trip into Chicago with her one weekend which will change Elise’s life forever.
This was a very different book than what I was expecting. First of all, it really reads more like a memoir than fiction, which is really kind of fascinating in itself. Second, I didn’t realize that is was going to be set in the 1970s and the author did a great job of setting the scene for that. From the beauty pageant to the parades, it really felt nostalgic when reading. But the best part was the overall character development of Elise. She started out what seemed very shallow and reserved, but grew throughout the story over her time with Chiara and then when looking for Miguel. There was definitely a twist thrown in there that really ramped up the conflict of the story. The point of view remained through an eighteen year old girl’s eyes. Her experiences and memories really seemed true to the events that took place.
There is some language throughout this book as well as a mild sex scene. There are also some scenes that depict underage smoking, drinking, and drug use. I recommend this for mature young adults and up.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.