by Deb Caletti
Spoiler Free Synopsis:
A teen girl’s summer with her mother turns sinister in this gripping thriller about the insidious dangers of unwanted attention, from Printz Honor medal–winning and National Book Award finalist author Deb Caletti—perfect for fans of Courtney Summers’s Sadie.
Sydney Reilly has a bad feeling about going home to San Francisco before she even gets on the plane. How could she not? Her mother is Lila Shore—the Lila Shore—a film star who prizes her beauty and male attention above all else…certainly above her daughter.
But Sydney’s worries multiply when she discovers that Lila is involved with the dangerous Jake, an art dealer with shady connections. Jake loves all beautiful objects, and Syndey can feel his eyes on her whenever he’s around. And he’s not the only one. Sydney is starting to attract attention—good and bad—wherever she goes: from sweet, handsome Nicco Ricci, from the unsettling construction worker next door, and even from Lila. Behaviors that once seemed like misunderstandings begin to feel like threats as the summer grows longer and hotter.
It’s unnerving, how beauty is complicated, and objects have histories, and you can be looked at without ever being seen. But real danger, crimes of passion, the kind of stuff where someone gets killed—it only mostly happens in the movies, Sydney is sure. Until the night something life-changing happens on the stairs that lead to the beach. A thrilling night that goes suddenly very wrong. When loyalties are called into question. And when Sydney learns a terrible truth: beautiful objects can break.
So...I didn't like it. It started pretty well despite that I was in a book slump, therefore, my expectations were quite high but the way the author closed the narrative at the end was unsatisfying. And that is not to take away from the effort of writing this, it just wasn't as good as it could've been. For me. I'm sorry.
RATING: 🌟🌟🌟⭐⭐ 3.7
WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! ABORT IF YOU HAVENT READ IT YET!
This is mostly a rant, I apologize in advance if you liked this book.
Alright, let's start with my initial thoughts upon opening the book and starting to read it. The beginning is every thriller story perfection. The words, the doubts, the beginning sense that something isn't right and bad things could happen, was executed tremendously well, but after that, it just dragged on. I appreciate the mention of women being treated as objects or as not exactly human beings because that DOES happen frequently, though it should not. I think humans have grown and evolved enough to keep their mouth shut sometimes. From the cusp of the entry, all of us could tell Lila was useless. She was dumb, manipulative, annoying, and utterly a pain in the backside. Sydney, on the other hand, was a bit too clueless but who wouldn't be after having a mother like dear Lila Shore. Shore, Chore... I see what you did there Deb, clever. Sydney felt too one dimensional, it felt as if she was very easily manipulated and plastic if y'all get what I mean. She was thrown around by Lila crying and insulting her and then, AND THEN, Sidney lied about who killed Jake. Give me a sec, people. Someone is getting smacked today. Jake *deep breath* was a possessive idiot who was moronic enough to keep his 'merchandise' in the house he was living in. Because Lila is such a smart being she thought that all of THAT was 'legal'. *Cue me wanting to rip her plastic waste-filled face off* At least Sidney smelled something funny and let me tell you how much I despised the worker who had been harassing her. Hold me back, hold me back. The fact that someone exists and you like that said person exists does not and I mean DOES NOT mean that you can rake your filthy eyeballs across their body like a candy you can't resist. There is this thing, ladies and gentlemen, called self-restraint. Learn. it. Phew, now that I got that out of the way, let me continue calmly...one of the few things that saved me from absolute boredom was the fact that they foreshadowed A LOT the ending and how bad it was going to be. *Spoiler alert* It was not that bad compared to other thriller books out there. And that kinda does make me sound disturbing cause someone DIED but come on, the foreshadowing was INTENSE. I just would've liked a more Wa Pow! kind of ending. But here I go again getting sidetracked and making this seem like the google map of the Bermuda triangle. Let's get a bit more organized...I already ranted a bit concerning Lila Chore and Jake...did I already talk about Sid- yep I did...okay, hold on. *intense thinking*
THE DOG! Oh my gosh, how could I have forgotten of the real prize winner of this story?! The cutest, fluffiest most adorable being in this whole shenanigan. Max, you stole my heart from the get-go. Now, that we touched a bit on that subject let's discuss Nicco Ricc, he is one if not the only human being which I did not want to throw ou of a building apart from Ellen cause Meredith, you could also take a trip out of a window. Nicco was there, he was um... present. He did not interest me that much, unfortunately. It's not that he was bad, not at all. It's just if he hadn't been there, the story would've stayed the same, I think. Ellen was the perfect substitute mother for Sydney and she was extremely kind, heartfelt, and awesome. Meredith could've done better in the friend department. Ahem, hearing Jake hit Lila...yeah, she could've done better. But I understand that wasn't her place. Taking into account that one of the things that are amazing about books, is that you can judge, cause you weren't there. *sigh* The joy of reading.*snort*
For the moment, I think I ranted a bit about everything so let me get straight to the REAL deal breaker. The Flat Ending. The foreshadowing (as previously ranted about) was extremely present throughout the book.
#Example numero one:
“And the truth is, nothing made that sense of doom disappear—no explanations, no blue sky, nothing. It was persistent. It was spooky.
I didn’t know what that feeling was. I didn’t know which exact ghost from the past was trying to warn me. But she was real, and I didn’t listen.”
#Example numero two:
“Once he got out of the parking lot, Jake Antonetti hit the accelerator, and I held on.
And I held on and I held on. I held on until that rainy night in August.”
#Example numero five-thousand-eight hundred and seventy-two:
“The worry—it rattled me. It was that dread again. At first, it was like the unsettling chiming of crystals on a swinging chandelier, and then more like the clatter of teacups and china in a shuddering cupboard. Worse and worse. Getting stronger.
Tremors before the quake.”
Excuse me, how was I not supposed to expect a BAM! moment in the end. That was the actual deal-breaker that lowered this book's rating for me. Not Lilas stupidity, not Jakes moronicity (that's a word), not even Sydney's helplessness which reaaalllyyyy got on my nerves. It was the ending that ruined it. I t was lackluster and afterward, I felt like I had wasted my time trying to figure it out. When it was over I was just like: "That's it? no more?" Honestly, I felt like crying from disappointment. Yep, tears of disappointment. Sue me. Don't get me wrong, apart from that HUGE detail the rest was eh. On the other side of meh. Ya deal?
Sydney FINALLY standing up to the construction creep.
At least Nicco was sweet. Yeah, there's always a silver lining people.
Jake dying. I was waiting for that SINCE the beginning. I cheered like an idiot afterward.
When it finally ended. I know, salty, but I'm trying to be honest here.
I seriously think this could've been a contemporary type of book instead of forcing and twisting it to become a thriller. Again, I apologize if this offended the people that loved the book. I'm SOWWWYYY.