My rating: 1 of 5 stars
This book had been recommended to me by a friend about two years ago. I never got the chance to read it until recently, when I went to a thrift store (The Salvation Army), and they were having a sale; all books were being sold for one dollar! I grinned the whole time in there! Anyways, point of the matter is that I (finally) picked up this book! I am happy to finally be able to say that I’ve read it.
Long story short, Emily’s parents die in a plane crash but before dying her mother leaves Emily a message scrawled in lipstick—”Emily, please forgive me.” With a summary like that one would expect quite the novel. It was a serious letdown and I am giving this novel 1 star out of 5.
***WARNING MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD***
I am going to walk you through the novel. (This may sound harsh but for a novel where so little happens, I can’t figure out how it has so many pages.) The story begins with Emily throwing a party while her parents are out of town. She is 16 and just wants to have some fun, maybe get the cute popular boy to notice her. Suddenly, in walks her aunt, looking more disheveled than usual, and Emily cannot believe that her parents would send someone to check on her. Her aunt sends everyone home and tells Emily the news. She was in a cab headed home when she saw on the news that Emily’s parents plane had crashed— no survivors. She came over straight away. Emily is devastated. For about four months, Emily does little more than lie on the couch and eat and try to forget. She tries to forget the crash and the message that she can’t figure out. After everything is sorted out they move to her aunts place in the city, a stark difference from her old life. There she goes to school and makes friends with the popular crowd and life is sometimes okay. Owen, the hottest boy in school is into her and when she’s with him she can forget all the terrible things for a while. Then there’s her lab partner, Anthony, who makes her feel too much but whose comfort she finds herself seeking, whose reassurance she needs. He pushes her to discover what her mother meant. He even has the nerve to accuse her of not looking hard enough, of not wanting to know the meaning behind her mothers final words. Inevitably, Emily stumbles upon some pieces of information (for a book whose driving force is her mothers message, it is surprisingly weak. Every significant clue Emily finds she stumbles upon accidentally and doesn’t particularly want). Anyways, as she goes to parties and discovers more about her new friend she figures out what kind of people she ought to keep around forever and those she is better off without. She learns forgiveness and not choosing hated and that love is always a good idea, with the right person. She creates a new family for herself and a good life.
***GIVING AWAY THE ENDING (AND THE BIG SECRET) NOW***
(consider yourself warned)
We are lead to believe that her mothers big secret is that she had an affair a while back. The man Emily thought was her father for her whole life may not be. (And yes, she meets her potential biological father. He gives her a business card and says if ever she wants to, she can contact him.) Her aunt had tried to hide all this from her but ends up giving Emily her mothers diary (after Emily has pretty much figured out the secret and has read pieces of a diary already). There’s anger and tears but ultimately she decides to forgive her mom and see her as she always did, as a loving mother and wife. Emily chucks her mothers diary into the New York Harbor to signify this forgiveness and her choice not to be angry. As for the boys, she learns that Owen has questionable morals (takes her way longer than it does the reader) and that all along she was meant for Anthony, who is always there willing to help and be there for her.
Let me be clear, as someone who is generally terrible at guessing endings but who loves to get told spoilers of the endings before reading a book, I have nothing against predictable books. This one however was painful and I had a hard time finishing it. Maybe I’m just way too old for it but personally I think that this was just a terrible book. Its getting half a star because it had such potential. The second half star is because even though I really didn’t want to finish the book, I did and that has to mean/stand for something right?