Synopsis from Goodreads.
“When her boyfriend, Danny, is killed in a car accident, Wren can’t imagine living without him. Wild with grief, she uses the untamed powers she’s inherited to bring him back. But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy she once loved.
Wren has spent four months keeping Danny hidden, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school and somehow, inexplicably, he can sense her secret. Wren finds herself drawn to Gabriel, who is so much more alive than the ghost of the boy she loved. But Wren can’t turn her back on Danny or the choice she made for him—and she realizes she must find a way to make things right, even if it means breaking her own heart. ”
“It wasn’t love right away, because nothing ever is, no matter what the songs say, but it was the start of it. A beginning in one way, and the end in another. I think that might always be true of love.”
Initial Final Page Thoughts.
I was not expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. I love being proved wrong.
An um.. alternative way of dealing with loss. Zombies. It’s a kind of magic. Cute flashbacks. Gorgeous prose. Minimal eye-roll inducing descriptions. An unconventional heroine that doesn’t have blonde hair and a willowy figure (she has piercings and coloured hair and…wait for it… she’s short! Woah now). Sisters.
FORCED LOVE INTEREST. Anyone who has ever read any of my reviews, and/or met me on the street and asked me for the time, will know I reaaaally dislike love interests that don’t add anything to the story. This book would have completely ripped out my heart (and god knows I love a heart ripping book) if the whole Gabriel thing had just disappeared. In my view, this book was about Wren and Danny and how their love was cut short. There was no room in my sympathy for a broody boy who can’t even draw and takes things so very seriously.
So, unfortunately, some Brownie points were lost on this front. I know some people can’t get enough of them but I truly feel that my Room 101 would be full of love triangles that would incessantly poke me with their sharp and ridiculously insipid edges. I’m sorry in advance Julia, but I’d betray you as well if it came to that.
Also… Wren and Robin?! I find it offensive that magical/paranormal/mystical beings have to have strange and unusual names. I’m still waiting for a book where the magical power-wielding heroine is called Janet, Linda or
Jo something like that. *cough*
It took me a bit to like Wren and I was convinced she was going to become an Annoying Female Protagonist (Or as the cool kids call it an AFP) because the first thing we found out about her was that she made the most ridiculous decisions (seriously, this girl needs to watch Practical Magic before doing anything ever again).
BUT, obviously if Wren didn’t make silly decisions involving dark magic and graveyards at midnight then I wouldn’t have had a book to read and review. So… y’know. I’ll let that slide. Just this once.
I loved how Wren handled herself when she realised that bringing Danny back to life were going to have repercussions and consequences. She didn’t moan or panic or think ‘Oh well, he may not be the same or be in possession of a pulse and all but he’s still super-duper cute even if he is a bit pale and I’ll just put layers on when he touches me because he’s kinda cold” .
Wren realised that it probably wasn’t the best idea and she took responsibility for her actions without fuss or anyone’s help.
Danny, or the zomboyfriend a word that I am hoping will catch on seeing as its all the rage in recent books at the moment, was the perfect boyfriend when he had a pulse and it broke my heart that he wasn’t still around to draw pictures and just be generally lovely towards Wren. It brought back some sad memories of other books that toyed with my emotions like this and turned me into a quivering wreck.
I think Garvey struck gold with the addition of the flashbacks between Wren and Danny because it showed how things were and made the present even more tragic and Wren’s feelings of guilt and loss even rawer. If these flashbacks hadn’t been included and Danny had been just painted as the zombie-in-the-way-of-true-love then I probably wouldn’t have finished it. But with these glimpses at how things used to be, Garvey perfectly created an almost unbearable bittersweet feeling as Wren realised that things could never be as they were and this new Danny could never be her Danny.
Gabriel- Meh. You know my feelings on him and his slate grey eyes.
This song is perfect for this book because it
allows me to practice my Geordie accent is all about losing someone that you still love, dealing with all the accompanying emotions and, finally, letting go.
9/10. I don’t know whether it was just me being
a complete girl over-emotional but this book really affected me. Garvey proficiently conveyed Wren’s grief and the sense of helplessness and combined this with a lyrical and realistic narrative style that never became too flowery and unnecessarily emotional. A lot of writers believe that in order to write emotions they must be long and overwhelming so they can bombard the reader and pressure them into feeling sympathy towards the MC, but Garvey didn’t need this. I always find books that adopt subtlety with emotions so much more effective than writers who slather it on. I get so confused with the fragmented sentences, the elaborate metaphors that don’t make complete sense and the sensory overload that I forget what I’m even supposed to be sad about in the first place.
And, I have to say that this is the first full-on, honest-to-goodness paranormal romance book that I’ve actually cared about/finished/didn’t pull out chunks of my hair over. I did not think that this was possible because I honestly believe that if I saw a paranormal romance book walking towards me on the street I would cross over to the other side and avoid its gaze until it had walked passed. So well played, Ms Garvey, well played indeed.
People who have never seen Practical Magic or Pet Semetary and thus do not know the perils of bringing back loved ones from the dead. IT NEVER ENDS WELL.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers. It will be available to buy later this year.