This is a surprisingly hopeful look at a teen dealing with a profoundly upsetting situation. Lucille’s dad lost his mind and her mother took off, leaving Lucille to deal with her younger sister, a quickly amassing pile of bills, and questions of the heart that could destroy the fragile support system that she depends on to keep going.
For fans of Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell comes a gorgeous debut novel about family, friends, and first love.
Lucille Bennett is pushed into adulthood after her mom decides to “take a break”…from parenting, from responsibility, from Lucille and her little sister, Wren. Left to cover for her absentee parents, Lucille thinks, “Wren and Lucille. Lucille and Wren. I will do whatever I have to. No one will pull us apart.”
Now is not the time for level-headed Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother. With blazing longing that builds to a fever pitch, Estelle Laure’s soulful debut will keep readers hooked and hoping until the very last page.
“A funny, poetic, big-hearted reminder that life can—and will—take us all by surprise.”
—Jennifer E. Smith, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
“Lucille may not take down a beast or assassinate any super bads, but she’s what heroines look like and love like in real life.”
I haven’t cried while reading a book for years, but this one got me. Lucille is a great character, and anyone who has been asked to take on burdens too big for young shoulders will find her voice true to the situation. She is willing to sacrifice so much of what it means to be a carefree teen if it means she and her sister can stay together, but she just wants one thing of her own, and that was spot on. Some of the other characters were a little less developed than Lucille, but I felt like that was part of the alienation her situation demanded of her, so it was really a virtue more than a fault. The prose is smart and drifts to dreamy at times, and it is well paced to develop both the situation and the romantic relationship. I can’t say I was completely satisfied by the ending, which left readers to make a few inferences of their own, but it was very compelling. Themes about friendship and support add a nice depth to the story. I think this will be a book that many of my high school readers will enjoy, so I’m adding it to my classroom library. I would probably recommend it to readers who enjoy realistic contemporary YA, especially YA that explores the hard hitting situations. Language and situations are appropriate for grades 9+.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.