Published by Razorbill on April 10th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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Hannah and Zoe haven’t had much in their lives, but they’ve always had each other. So when Zoe tells Hannah she needs to get out of their down-and-out New Jersey town, they pile into Hannah’s beat-up old Le Mans and head west, putting everything—their deadbeat parents, their disappointing love lives, their inevitable enrollment at community college—behind them.
As they chase storms and make new friends, Zoe tells Hannah she wants more for her. She wants her to live bigger, dream grander, aim higher. And so Zoe begins teaching Hannah all about life’s intangible things, concepts sadly missing from her existence—things like audacity,insouciance, karma, and even happiness.
This book surprisingly left me with happy feelings, even though it was a sad book. That doesn’t often happen. And for that, I give this book a solid, certain 5 stars. Not just because it made me feel things, but because it made me feel things and still left me happy. There are really two kinds of sad books- the ones that tear you apart (like this other one) and the ones that still leave you with a nice mix of positive feelings (this one).
Now, there is a kind of insta-love here. I’m not really sure exactly- is it insta-love if they were kinda secretly crushing on each other for years but just now decided to hang out? Well, I define insta-love as, you know, falling in love before they really have a chance to get to know each other. And that’s kinda what happened, but it was a GOOD kind of insta-love. It still felt right, which was important. Their relationship was one to be envied. They just went together well, like- I don’t know, destiny. That’s one of the intangible things. So their relationship was one of the happy feelings.
As a matter of fact, there were a few ends tied up at the end that contributed to the happy feelings as well. This is one of those books where the main character is in a generally bad situation- issues with parents, school, money, boys (in this case, lack thereof)- but it doesn’t end terribly. It ends with things like forgiveness and second chances and promises of things getting better. I’m sorry if that’s a spoiler, but I feel it’s important to know going in that it’s not a book that’s going to depress you. Although, there is that one thing near the end.
The idea was brilliant. Zoe was quite a character and I could easily see how she and Hannah depended on each other. Zoe seemed quite knowledgeable about all sorts of things- tangible and not- even while she was falling apart. And she truly cared for Hannah and her brother Noah with an extraordinary passion. But the truth was- she was going crazy. Wasn’t she? I feel like that…sort of wasn’t the point.
From here on I’ll be talking about that one big thing that they don’t mention in the synopsis so there’s really no way to prepare yourself for it. View Spoiler » Zoe dies in this book. She jumps off a ledge into the Grand Canyon during a storm. She dies. Or does she? She’s basically going insane, Hannah thinks- talking about aliens and how they’re waiting for her to join them. So in Zoe’s mind, she went to join the aliens. And that may or may not be true, since all they found of her was her money pouch. But I get the feeling that that’s not the point. She had no life to get back to in New Jersey- her mom would have put her back in the mental hospital. She was classified as bipolar. So in her mind, she was probably going to a better place, whether it’s with the aliens- or death. And her parting gift to Hannah was…all the intangible things. « Hide SpoilerZoe taught her all about life, so she could continue living it without her help, and it worked. Of course, Danny- her beau- was a big part of it, but like the end says, first loves are just that- first loves. And also, the last paragraph in the book really helps you come to terms with that one big thing. It’s kind of nice, actually. Closure. Happy feeling.
It’s a nice story. It’s a nice trip. It’s sad, but bittersweet, really. It probably won’t have the capacity to tear you apart. I was a little iffy on adding it to my library, but the end made up for it.
reaction upon finishing
*warm happy feelings* that was satisfying (:
this book in one word