Title: Half in Love With Death
Author: Emily Ross
Publisher: Merit Press
Publication Date: December 16, 2015
Source: I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
It's the era of peace and love in the 1960s, but nothing is peaceful in Caroline's life. Since her beautiful older sister disappeared, fifteen-year-old Caroline might as well have disappeared too. She's invisible to her parents, who can't stop blaming each other. The police keep following up on leads even Caroline knows are foolish. The only one who seems to care about her is Tony, her sister's older boyfriend, who soothes Caroline's desperate heart every time he turns his magical blue eyes on her.
Tony is convinced that the answer to Jess's disappearance is in California, the land of endless summer, among the runaways and flower children. Come with me, Tony says to Caroline, and we'll find her together. Tony is so loving, and all he cares about is bringing Jess home. And so Caroline follows, and closes a door behind her that may never open again.
I'm having bad luck so far in 2016. Here's another book that didn't work out for me. My problem with this book was Caroline, the main character. Man was she naive. To the point of being stupid.
I felt like Caroline just kind of went with the flow and wasn't really actively choosing the direction of her life. She just did what others told her to, first her parents and later Tony. The author tried to show that she was smart with her grades at school and her apparent skill at poetry, but she took so long to figure out what was going on and made a lot of bad decisions.
Also, my feminism side a bit riled during this book. Caroline talked about how badly she wanted to go to California to find her sister. Yet she was constantly waiting on Tony's schedule. I think the book would have been way more interesting if Caroline hitchhiked to California to look for Jess herself. She should have taken control of things and gone to California on her schedule instead of always waiting on the man to take her there.
Ok, enough complaining about Caroline. I also disliked her entire family (besides Dicky, who basically didn't exist besides occasionally playing in the background). Caroline's dad was a bit of an alcoholic who generally wasn't that good at being a husband or a father. But he was nowhere near as bad as her mother, who took all of her stress about having a missing daughter on the rest of her family. I can only imagine how difficult that would be as a parent, but pushing away the rest of your family doesn't seem like a good solution. I feel like the author was going for the depressed housewife idea, but it didn't work for me. And Jess, who we barely see in the book, was made annoyed based on the other character's descriptions of her.
I also wished the 1960's setting has been more apparent in the book. Basically the only hint I got that this was set in the 60's is one or two mentions of the fashions and a couple mentions of The Beatles.
Overall, I just couldn't get into Caroline's head and she ended up annoying me a lot with her naivety.
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