Olivia Foster hasn’t felt alive since her little brother drowned in the backyard pool three years ago. Then Kara Hallas moves in across the street with her mother and grandmother, and Olivia is immediately drawn to these three generations of women. Kara is particularly intoxicating, so much so that Olivia not only comes to accept Kara’s morbid habit of writing to men on death row, she helps her do it. They sign their letters as the Resurrection Girls.
But as Kara’s friendship pulls Olivia out of the dark fog she’s been living in, Olivia realizes that a different kind of darkness taints the otherwise lively Hallas women—an impulse that is strange, magical, and possibly deadly.
Out October 2019
I received this book in exchange for my honest review.
It took me two tries to get through this book not because it was that bad, but because of the subject matter. So forgive the lateness of my review.
I loss my brother when I was seventeen to lung cancer. Grief is experienced and handled differently for each person. I understand grief and loss.
This book is about hope among the dark clouds associated with loss and grief, but it’s written for a middle-grade crowd. Because of this readership the author had to carefully write to this age group so older readers may not appreciate the language chosen or the manner certain topics are addressed. Otherwise it would be too dark and consuming. To do this, the author added characters and friendship to deliver hope to the main character whose family never recovered from a drowning death of the youngest child. The main character blames herself for his death, steals opioids to cloak her pain and drift numbly in oblivion for a time. The parents behaviors show that they too blame the Protagonist for the death of their other child.
Many triggers in this book other than death, loss and grief. There’s a suicide to contend with and the complete breakdown of a once happy family. Things spiral out of control until the secondary character shows up and pushes the main character through her actions, to her main goal–recovery, self-growth and survival, and reconnecting to her parents and fixing the avoidance issue associated with their grieving.
I thought the author really knew of grief, despair, and loss; you could tell from her writing that she’s been there. Her bio later confirmed my thoughts.
The suicide across the street from the Protagonist was another trigger of mine. My best friend’s mother committed suicide in the same manner… it was as if this book was written for me. As I plodded through the pages, I found myself so emerged in all the drama on the pages that I forgot time reading to all hours of the night and wondering about all the connections and similarities I kept finding.
The story is dark, deep and challenging, if you’ve experience grief yourself. Those who have not walked down this path may miss things and think the writing stilted and all over the place. You may not appreciate Kara and her representation in the story nor will you understand how important it was for her arrival across the street and her friendship’s value and importance to Olivia. You may not appreciate the significance of the Hallas women in the story or the ending being the way it is.
I thought the concept of this book brilliant and the author’s voice so necessary and perfect for the subject matter. The book would appeal to others who have lived a life similar to Olivia (love the name) and loss in the same manner. One thing that should be noted, is that the book should be read by older teens in the middle-grade bracket. There are subject matters that may not be good for young minds to read about. Young adults and adults would appreciate this book as long as they understand that the author was targeting a younger readership so the language chosen may not be enjoyed by them.
I gave this book: