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544 pages, Hardcover
First published September 1, 2009
I remember starting one when I was nine (I lasted about a week); it went pretty much like this: "Dear diary, this is what happened today - *cue a long list of mundane things*".Well, this is what this story reads like. It details EVERY SINGLE MOMENT of Abbey's days - her wardrobe choices, her baking cookies, school, Caspian, school activities, cookies, making perfumes, Caspian, baking cookies, school, Caspian, cookies, perfumes (yes, cookies must be an important plot point given how often they are mentioned)... Okay, I'd keep the perfume part in - it is original and interesting, but the rest is just filler that bogs down the book and bloats the story that should have occupied a compact few hundred pages into three way-too-long books (yes, I've read the entire trilogy - only because I wanted to know how this dragged out story ends. Answer - unsatisfyingly, very much so).
"At that moment - in that small, concise, perfectly clear moment of time - I knew. It was that moment I fell in love with him. It actually caused me to stop, and time froze for just a second. But that feeling was so right, and so strong, that I knew I wasn't wrong."These sound like famous last words (of a potential victim of a crazy dangerous guy) - "I knew I wasn't wrong."
A love like no other...
When Abbey's best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead...and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen's funeral and keeps reappearing in Abbey's life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he's the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again...but also special.
Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen's betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her - one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.
Abbey’s best friend, Kristen, has gone missing. She’s wracked with guilt, confusion, and wonders what happened to her friend. It doesn’t help that Kristen’s parents have decided to bury a coffin without Kristen inside of it. At the funeral, Abbey meets a strange boy with white hair and a black steak. Her world has been turned upside by the loss of her best friend, but who is this mysterious boy who keeps her company in the cemetery. This was one of emo thirteen-year-old Sarah’s favorite books. I loved it because of its ambiance and I connected with Abbey’s depression and love for the macabre—legend of Sleepy Hollow, the cemetery, and moody boys. Twenty-year-old Sarah does not share the same sentiments. The ambiance fluctuates between kind of foreboding and overwhelmingly chessy. This book wants to be a ghost story but isn’t one until the last two chapters. I remember loving the big reveal and it was why I loved the book so much when I was younger, but as someone who has read more books, this is rushed and poorly plotted. It feels almost like Verday remembered that she needed to finish the book someway because by chapter 23 out of 25, Abbey is working on a science fair project and doing a lot of borrowing inconsequential things that don’t affect the story at all. It’s not horrible, but it’s underwhelming. Verday has promise. There were times where I really liked her descriptions of the landscape and her intertwining of the legend of Sleepy Hollow to the town the novel is set in and its relation to the story, but this is 85% about Abbey mooning over Caspian. It’s boring and cliché. It is a steaming pile of instalove and angsty teenage moaning about true love not being fair and tragic and yada yada yada.
Abbey is a drag. I appreciate that she is a character struggling with depression, but she is very empty. I think that’s what Verday was going for and she succeeds in that depiction, but people are more than their depression and I would have liked more characterization. I did like that Abbey was passionate about perfume making. It’s unique and it’s been a character trait that I’ve remembered for years. She is too boy obsessed for me to really care though, so I don’t know. I couldn’t tell at times if she was mourning the loss of a friend or the cold-shoulder of her heart throb. It was unconvincing.
Caspian… what a name. Someone really loves the Chronicles of Narnia and it’s appeal to sounding like a goth kid’s attempt at rebranding themselves during their teen years. I used to think he was so swoon worthy, but I can’t tell you one thing about Caspian besides his affinity for classic literature and always showing up when Abbey is really sad and needs him most. He is soulless. An empty shell of a person and why Abbey lusts after him is beyond me.
The Villain- Pretty sure Verday forgot about writing one in. There’s this mysterious plot about Kristen having two journals and living a double life. I suspect it is leading up to a villain for the future, but this novel is boring. There’s no suspense. No terror. Just the moonings of a teenage girl.
That Ben guy was annoying. I think he’s supposed to be the Jacob end of the love triangle, but he’s weird. Who sees a girl that he doesn’t know but has forced his friendship upon (creepily and ineffectively I may add) a girl at a restaurant with family while on a date and ask to sit with these strangers? It was the most awkward thing (outside of Abbey’s pining) that I had to endure listening to. Also, who is Kristen? I keep being told and shown memories of them together, but who was she as a person. She wasn’t just a friend. My friends are people with qualities and I can list all the things I love about them and why I value their friendship while also telling stories about times we hung out, but Abbey seems to only be able to relay memories and not reasons why she loved her friend.
This reread was a bust. It proved to me that I really have grown as a reader and my tastes have changed drastically. I do plan on checking out the sequel because I’ve heard the writing and story improves. We shall see.
He was wearing a seventies-style brown paisley shirt that did not flatter this portly frame in any way and, unfortunately already bore the faint marking of a sweat patch under each arm. (pg 56)
Maulsoleums and crypts, with faded names that I knew by heart, rose majestically from the earth. Their outsides, although ravaged by the effects of time, still provided a safe place for the bodies that rested inside, and I nodded my head as a sign of respect to those once graceful homes of the departed. (pg 71)
His smile was breathtaking, and heartbreaking, all at the same time. (pg 120)