My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
I was really grabbed by the story and the writing. The strength of this book was in the characters, who were quirky without going overboard.
Cornelia was a great character. She was written very richly, I can’t think of a word to use other than textured. She’d been coasting through life for several years, since leaving college. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do long term, but she’d built a very nice life for the here and now. She had strong family ties and friends that she’d known since childhood that were still part of her life. She was even dating a guy that met her absolute description of a dream man.
In parallel to Cornelia’s life, we had Clare’s story.
Since I have an 11 year old (now 12!) myself, I felt particularly strongly for Clare as she coped with the crazy developments in her life. She’s clever and resilient, but she’s still a wounded little girl. Her mother had always been eccentric, but finally crossed the line, and was no longer in touch with reality in any useful way. Clare held their lives together, right up to the moment her mother drove away and left her at the side of the road.
Clare was extremely lucky to have Cornelia fall into her life, but Cornelia may have been almost as fortunate. I loved the story of how their lives came together, and where their lives went from there.
When I finished reading this, I immediately bought and read the followup book.
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
As with Love Walked In, the strength of this book was in the characters.
I enjoyed revisiting those I knew from Love Walked In. Cornelia, Clare and Teo are all living different lives than they were at the end of the previous book, but they are recognizably the same people.
With the new suburban setting, there were some new characters, most notably Piper (the quintessential suburban queen bee), Lake (a quirky single mom, and Cornelia’s first friend in her new home), and Dev (Lake’s teenage son, who was trying to solve the mystery of who his father was).
The look into the community relationships was fascinating, as the webs between people formed, changed, and were created anew.
Secrets and their consequences were an ongoing theme of this book. As in life, the primary impact of a secret was often on those that don’t even know that there was information being withheld from them.
All of the characters I mentioned above have serious decisions to make during the course of the book, and they all make for interesting reading. Best of all was seeing the sides of the characters that were revealed. Everyone had unexpected aspects to their past, to their personalities. Their views of themselves and of each other were in constant flux. Each secret that was revealed sent the characters scrambling again.
These were both wonderful, thought provoking reads. I’m really looking forward to Marissa de Los Santos’s next book, and I hope it comes soon!
I read Love Walked In for my book club L. I’m putting together a catch-up post, so I’ll put our book club reactions there.