My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There are so many books coming out in a year, so many of the young adult, so many readers of the young adult genre. The number intimidates me. I, myself, am one of them. We read these books and we read more and mostly, we move on. I don’t want to move on from this book; I don’t want this to be just a blip of 288 pages and 2 days in my life. I’d like to come back, coast through this again and take away everything I did and didn’t the first time.
Because this is just that kind of novel. It’s a beautiful, sad story of a girl finally mustering up the courage to make a choice by unraveling the story of a girl in a different time, different circumstances yet facing the same problems.
Choice, we all love the idea of it. The fact that it’s hovering just within our reach and we can jump up and grab at it but really, how many of us can say honestly that it doesn’t daunt them? Personally, I like the idea of it, love the knowledge that the reins can be in my hand. But when it comes to it, making a choice feels dreadful.
For there are no right or wrong choices, no fifty or thirty-three percent chances of making everything and everybody happy by taking the one road and not the other. That’s what terrifies me the most; that there are choices that will make me happy and then the ones that will make you happy and rarely the ones that will make us all happy. Once these choices are made, they are set in stone and there’s no going back.
This is the story of Parker, a believer of true love and happy endings; this is the story of Julianna, who dared to break away from the path that was set out for, no matter how enticing it seemed.
Parker’s life has played out according to the script her mother wrote and just when high school is about to end, she finds the diary of a girl who lives on a billboard that’s faded into the background, who exists in the patronage that will help Parker live her life, who suffers still in the biased memories of the townees, and who was never brought back from the bottom of the lake.
Parker is that character whom most of us can appreciate and connect with by virtue of her circumstances, if nothing else. She wants a fairytale, she looks for it everywhere, because she’s never had one herself. She lives under her eternally disappointed mother, who made the choices that don’t make her happy or satisfied and who doesn’t want the same for her daughter, so she makes all her choices; she’s been crushing on the same boy since seventh grade but is afraid to take the chance for fear of ridicule, rejection or disappointment and she’s about to leave the only town she’s known without ever having really known anybody around her. Her life has been a long stretch of walking where other hands pointed.
And then there is Julianna who made her choice and will never know if it was the right one, or ever be happy with it, and we’ll never be able to ask her. The scars left behind are too deep for her to smile without grimacing. Her story is told through a series of diary entries and both of these intermingling lives have a foundation in Robert Frost‘s poem, The Road Not Taken, one of the best poem I’ve ever read and even back in fourth grade when I first read it, I could see it for the true and accurate life lesson that it was.
This whole book gave me a constant, prolonged feeling of sadness. It was light(if pain could ever be light) and barely there in my stomach but when something lasts for a long time, going out, it always packs punch.
This starts out a hopeful book and in the end, the raw simplicity and conventionality of the story is the most tender and sad.
The ending was disappointing but the rest of the book is pure, liquid gold and like they say, nothing gold can stay.
On a different, unrelated note, I had no fucking clue what I was going to review this book with, I didn’t have any words or phrases. My mind was blank but then i started and I just typed it all out; I love this thing most about reviewing and writing in general. When words come out on their own.