When I was 16 years old my parents took me to Key West, Florida for Spring Break. I wanted to go to Barbados that year but they said it was too expensive and that they’d had fun in Key West the summer before, so I of course thought it would be ridiculously uncool. I started reading a new book on the way there, The A-List by Zoey Dean, and I absolutely refused to put it down. I read it at the airport, on the plane and on the 4-hour drive through the Keys, which my parents did not approve of as I was missing the scenery. (Side note: I now love the Keys and know they are far from uncool.) I had not felt that strongly about finishing a book and seeing what happens next until I read The Pact by Jodi Picoult a few weeks ago. I read it on the subway, walking out of the subway, on the couch while sort of watching TV, in bed — I even read it in the elevator on the way up to my 15th-floor office. That’s not that long of an elevator ride, people; the book is THAT good.
Synopsis: Chris and Emily have been best friends — like, Dawson and Joey plus Corey and Topanga times a million — since they were infants. So they obviously start dating once they reach the age where they realize they can, and sort of always have been. Their parents are also best friends and go out to dinner every Friday night, but on one of those Friday nights they get a call from the police saying both Chris and Emily were injured and are in the hospital. When they get there they learn that Emily has been shot, and is dead. The subsequent plot is ingeniously split between “then” (Chris and Emily’s story growing up together and falling in love, told from each perspective) and “now” (Chris being accused of murdering Emily).
Chris says they were planning to commit a double suicide, but all evidence points to him murdering her. However, the reader knows from the get-go that neither is an adequate explanation of what happened. There are really only a few things that could have caused her death, yet Picoult makes the reader completely desperate to find out exactly how and why Emily died and what led up to it. It is so compelling, so heartbreaking — I felt like I was IN Chris and Emily’s relationship, like I was going through a weird depression right with Emily, like I was Chris awaiting his sentence in prison. Halfway through you find out why Emily was the way she was, and all I’ll say is that it’s quite similar to something in She’s Come Undone, and it weighs heavily on me that it’s a common theme.
I’m probably not describing this book that well, it actually probably sounds pretty tacky, but I am self-aware enough to tell you when I enjoy reading something while fully knowing it’s pure crap, and pure crap this is not. So read it, please.
Next up: Now that a certain boyfriend works for a certain major bookseller, a certain blogger has access to many, many new (free) books, and from that new pile she will go back to the Young Adult section with Sarah Dessen’s Someone Like You.