Author: Nina LaCour
Genre: Realistic Fiction (YA)
Publication: October 15th, 2009 by Dutton Juvenile
An arresting story about starting over after a friend's suicide, froma breakthrough new voice in YA fiction
dear caitlin, there are so many things that i want so badly to tell you but i just can't.
Devastating, hopeful, hopeless, playful . . . in words and illustrations, Ingrid left behind a painful farewell in her journal for Caitlin. Now Caitlin is left alone, by loss and by choice, struggling to find renewed hope in the wake of her best friend's suicide. With the help of family and newfound friends, Caitlin will encounter first love, broaden her horizons, and start to realize that true friendship didn't die with Ingrid. And the journal which once seemed only to chronicle Ingrid's descent into depression, becomes the tool by which Caitlin once again reaches out to all those who loved Ingrid—and Caitlin herself
General: This book was recommended to me by a friend shortly after it came out. I forgot about it, though. Later when I was in the library I saw it on the shelf in the "new" section and picked it up because I thought the cover was cool. When I started reading it, I instantly recognized it as the book that was recommended to me. I totally loved it; it's definitely on my list of favorite books. LaCour's writing style is, I can honestly say, unique. And that's refreshing. Not often do you find authors like her. Her writing is complex, but simple. Painful, but it gives you a sense of joy. Crazy. I love it. At the end of the book, it had me teary and crying. She's just...great.
I must admit, when I first began it, it was very slow. Not much happened and there was a lot of description. I considered putting it down, but I remembered how much my friend had raved about it so I stuck it through. I'm definitely glad I did. It was absolutely astonishing (though perhaps a little cliche) and powerful. It described the brand new, changed life of a teenager whose world has been turned upside-down by tragedy in such a heartbreakingly raw way.
I loved how the whole book was separated into parts by season. It did a great job of chronicling the first year of healing for Caitlin. I also loved the little illustrations and doodles throughout the whole book. It did a lot for the mood of the story.
Plot: Like I mentioned, the beginning is slow, but it's totally worth it to keep reading. The plot is definitely not the most original one I've ever read. It has its cliches. But it also has its moments of surprise and amazement. The whole plot unravels in the beginning as a story of pain and regret. The protagonist, Caitlin, has just survived the suicide of her best friend, Ingrid. She wonders what she could have done differently to save Ingrid. She's overcome with pain as she tries to prove that she feels none. Soon Caitlin finds Ingrid's journal she kept up until the last day of her life. Through the journal, the mystery of Ingrid's suicide unfurls, Caitlin finds closure, and she discovers healing. Through a mix of flashbacks, journal entries, and Caitlin's own thoughts, we gain insight into who Ingrid used to be, and what their friendship was like.
The book, of course, included romance. I could usually mention that it seemed to move astonishingly fast...except it was just too adorable to criticize. It was one of the most touching romances I think I've ever read. So it didn't bother me at all that things moved so quickly.
Characters: Again, in my opinion some relationships (primarily the one between Caitlin and Taylor) moved a little too quickly. Others (such as the one between Caitlin and a girl from school) move agonizngly slowly, though probably on purpose. The characters absoutely jumped off the page and whispered in your ear. It was amazing how well you could feel the raw emotions they were feeling. Some minor characters seemed a little cliched. But again, it was written so well, and they were so realistic and true, you hardly noticed or cared (unless, of course, you dug really deeply into it to write a review).
Overall, fabulous book. I HIGHLY recommend it. My copy I borrowed from the library. Hopefully soon I can add it to my personal collection.