I read this book for the first time this summer and I fell in love with it. It’s now one of my favourites. After re-reading it about two weeks ago, I decided it’s time for me to review it!
Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father.
It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it.
But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.
This is a story about:
1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love.
The first reason I love this book is the writing style! David Arnold has a way with words that is simply beautiful. I underlined so many passages just because the way something is described is spot on and fantastic.
Here are some of my favourite sentences:
“In this land the only explosions were those of laughter, the only breaking was of bread, and the only shootings we’re of stars across the clear Brazzaville sky.”
“The fact that this man’s name is Ron, that he has bright-red hair, and that his suit looks like it hasn’t been washed in weeks, is simply too much for my Hogwarts-loving brain to handle. ”
“And when the kids needed someone most, someone to love and trust, they found one another, and they called themselves the Kids of Appetite, and they lived and they laughed and they saw that it was good.”
“That April, the house was full of green bean casseroles and sideways hugs.”
-when talking about the month both his grandparents died
“”In the name of Christmas,” Mom said, probably a hundred times. I wondered if maybe Christmas could go by a different name this year. But hey. I could hardly blame her.”
“”The Flower Duet” ended.
“The Flower Duet” began again.
The magic of repeat.
God, I missed Dad.”
-“The Flower Duet” was his Dad’s favourite song
The second reason I love this book are the characters. They’re great! The story is told from two separate POV’s. On one hand there’s Vic and on the other there’s Mad.
One of the things I love about David Arnold’s books is the unexpected diversity. When picking up this book for example, I didn’t know Vic had Moebius Syndrome. Needless to say it was a fantastic surprise as I’m always looking for new perspectives different from mine. I don’t know anyone with Moebius Syndrome, so I can’t say for sure, but I think the representation was done well.
“I often thought the most unfair thing about having Moebius wasn’t Moebius at all, but other people’s inability to define me by anything else.”
I really like Vic as he’s smart and funny. I really like Mad too. She feels real and she’s strong. Because of a car crash, she lost both her parents and she had to go live with an abusive uncle, while taking care of her grandmother who has dementia.
There is also a romance in this book, between Vic and Mad. I absolutely ship it! They are great together.
” I was quickly becoming an absolutely ace at face-palming myself. But then, miracle of miracles: Mad smiled a little. And I died a little.”
There’s also Baz and Zuz, two refugee brothers from a war-torn country ( I have forgotten which.) and who have a heartbreaking story. Lastly, there’s Coco, a cheeky, but caring eleven-year-old. Vic’s dad also plays a big role in the story, but he passed away two years before the book starts, so I don’t really consider him a character. The characters all care a lot for each other and I loved discovering their stories.
The third reason that this book is awesome is the plot. There are two main plot lines intertwined. Vic and Mad are in a police station and they are talking about something that happened. As a reader, you don’t know what it is, so you’re at the edge of your seat with anticipation the entire time. The other story line is about Vic’s father and the list of places where he wishes his ashes to be scattered. They’re all riddles though and throughout the book Vic and the others slowly make their way through the list. The plot kept me entertained as I wasn’t bored for a second.
The last reason for my love is how much it made me feel. I cried several times while reading this book, and not a lot of books do that for me. Overall I gave this five out of five stars of course. I would most highly recommend it!
I hope you enjoyed this post. See you next time! Love,