Blurb from Goodreads
When Sophie receives a parcel from her best friend, Freya, she expects it to contain the reason why Freya left town so suddenly, without goodbyes and without explanation.
Instead, she finds a letter addressed to Win, a girl Freya barely knew – or did she?
As more letters arrive for more people on the periphery of Freya’s life, Sophie and Win begin to piece together who Freya was and why she left.
Sometimes it’s not about who’s gone, but about who they leave behind
I requested this from NetGalley based on the blurb; it sounded super intriguing with a curious mystery style vibe. But also because Non Pratt has been on my radar as a writer to read for some time.
And I am hella glad I got to read this because omg it has blimmin’ brilliant chronic illness rep.
I DID NOT KNOW THIS BOOK HAS ILLNESS REP SO IT MUST’VE BEEN FATED WHEN THE NETGALLEY GODS GRANTED ME THIS ARC BECAUSE I LOVE TO READ ALL THE ILLNESS REP!
I don’t have Lupus like the character Sophie has in this but from my teenage years I developed a debilitating chronic illness that has left me with constant fatigue and crippling pain so I can 100% relate to Sophie’s experience. And can I just give a major virtual high five to Non Pratt for this rep.
At the beginning of the book Non explains that they don’t have a chronic illness but undertook careful research and discussed what the life of a #spoonie (person with chronic illness) is like with those who do. And you can tell that Non really and truly paid attention. The illness rep is sensitively handled and carefully described, and I just doff my hat to you Non. I can only hope that more writers are so considerate in the future.
I completely recommend this book based on the chronic illness rep so just major brownie points for that.
Also, hello effortless diversity!
I just love when books are filled with all sorts of characters from multiple backgrounds and with differing gender identities and sexual orientation. Just *chef’s kiss*
The plot of this book is incredibly interesting too. It’s all about a girl called Freya.
But we never get to meet her.
Instead we meet the friends she has left behind after her move away and see how her departure has impacted them.
The book starts with Freya’s best friend Sophie receiving a package which inside contains instructions to find someone called Win and give her a wrapped parcel from inside Sophie’s package… think of it like those Russian dolls that stack inside each other. And as every layer is unwrapped another person’s name is unveiled until all the group gather together to read letters hidden inside the final layer of wrapping.
And as all this unwrapping unfurls we get to know these characters. Secrets are revealed and grievous misconceptions are challenged.
This is a book all about finding your people. If you love the found family trope then this would be right up your street!
Each of the characters in the book is well written and feels authentically unique.
I primarily related to Sophie because of our shared experiences with chronic illness but sisters Win and Sunny are simply excellent too. I love those two so much. Their sisterly bond is just sooooo good to read about. They have such amazing love for each other but all with this sassy banter… just perfect! And then the complicated dynamic between Lucas and Ryan…oh those misunderstood boys stole my heart!
Overall this was an incredibly well written YA with a compelling cast of characters and a storyline that gradually unfurled to reveal honest truths about self identity and the pressures of just being happy with who you are as a person.
Word of caution the ending is a little bit open ended…initially I was reading on my Bluefire app and was like ahhhh where’s the next page?!?! But now that I’ve thought a little bit more about the book I realise it was the perfect place to leave these characters and their stories. Because it lets me as the reader dream about all the different possibilities that now lie ahead for them.
I really enjoyed this book and would happily recommend it to all fans of contemporary YA as it has super cute moments but also real gritty truth telling moments so has wide reader appeal in my opinion.
*An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Publishing 6th August 2020, Walker Books