By: Chelsea Sedoti
Published Year: 2017
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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): A teenage misfit named Hawthorn Creely inserts herself in the investigation of missing person Lizzie Lovett, who disappeared mysteriously while camping with her boyfriend. Hawthorn doesn't mean to interfere, but she has a pretty crazy theory about what happened to Lizzie. In order to prove it, she decides to immerse herself in Lizzie's life. That includes taking her job... and her boyfriend. It's a huge risk — but it's just what Hawthorn needs to find her own place in the world.
Honestly, the cover didn’t do much for me when I saw it on the lists of books for the Debut Author’s challenge (which I am participating in once again this year). The title piqued my curiosity enough to make me read the summary which then did make an impression on me. I don’t think I would have picked this book up based on cover and summary alone if it hadn’t been for it being a part of the DAC, but it’s always interesting to go a little outside your comfort zone.
What I thought
I don’t do well with books that have unlikeable protagonists and Hawthorn was very unlikeable. I think she’s meant to be different and unique in a relatable loner way, but to me she just came across as a terrible person. She’s mean, petty, and self-centered with no redeeming qualities until the very end of the story.
Hawthorn becomes obsessed with Lizzie Lovett after she finds out that she has gone missing. Lizzie is 21 years old, the same age as Hawthorn’s older brother Rush. When Hawthorn was a freshman, Lizzie was a senior and Hawthorn started to hate her because she was perfect. While holding onto this animosity for years, Hawthorn initially acts like she doesn’t care about Lizzie being gone, but then she can’t stop thinking about her and what happened to her. She inserts her into Lizzie’s life by working at the diner she used to work at and, eventually, talking to Lizzie’s boyfriend who was the last person to see her before she went missing.
I understand being interested or even obsessed with a person from afar when you’re a teenager. I remember imagining scenarios with all types of people that I never knew or that I barely knew when I was in high school. However, there’s a difference between playing out a scenario in your head or even talking about it with someone, and then actually following through with it. Hawthorn almost tries to become Lizzie and feels like she needs to figure out what happened to Lizzie and who Lizzie became after high school because somehow it will allow Hawthorn to figure out who she is.
For a debut novel, the writing is solid. I found myself drawn into the mystery of Lizzie Lovett and needed to know what happened to her. The story is different from anything that I have read and it brings up a lot of interesting discussion points. I did appreciate that it’s a different point of view of high school than readers normally see as well. Hawthorn hates high school, but in a very real way. In a lot of YA novels, the protagonist hates high school but has one or two friends that make it ok. Hawthorn really had no one and deals with a lot of bullying. She doesn’t have a special talent that she can turn to that makes life worth living and she doesn’t have a magical perspective that everything will get better for her after high school. While I didn’t like Hawthorn or even reading about her, I appreciated that this is a very important type of character to teenagers to read and have for other teenagers to relate to.
By: Chelsea Sedoti