Book Review: The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes

A mug of green tea sits in front of a pink paperback copy of The Last Letter From Your Lover. A dilute calico cat sits behind it.

Alexis:

Sort of ironic, isn’t it, since Anna just mentioned Me Before You, Moyes’ trauma porn story? 😬

I needed another beach read, so I grabbed this one from a used bookstore. And though it’s not my usual kind of read, I saw a trailer for a Netflix adaptation, and thought I would pick it up. 

After Jennifer gets into a car accident in 1960, she has amnesia. She doesn’t remember her husband; she doesn’t remember who she is. And when she stumbles upon a letter from a lover, she realizes that her marriage was unhappy, and that she was in love with someone else. The problem is: she can’t remember who he is or where to find him.

Despite not being gothic, this book almost immediately gave me Rebecca vibes. There’s no ex-wife, but Jennifer feels and sees her lover, “B,” everywhere she looks, and it gives a similar sort of mysterious vibe. Plus, Jennifer is the wife of a rich man with a huge estate.

It took me a little while to get into this one. Part of the beginning seems a little unnecessary; Jennifer spends a lot of time getting to re-know her high society friends, only for them to become unimportant characters later on. 

What I did like was Moyes’ engaging, flowing writing style. I liked how the story is non-linear. However, the story switches to the POV of Ellie, a journalist in 2003, and while I enjoyed her perspective, it didn’t come until page 231. I would’ve liked her POV to be more woven into Jennifer’s POV. 

Overall, this was an enjoyable read. I think if you’re looking for a historical fiction story that focuses on love, memory, and sacrifice with light Rebecca vibes, then you’ll enjoy this. 

VERDICT: ⭐⭐⭐/5

Review: The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

A hardcover copy of The Ones We're Meant to Find rests on a wooden table in a coffee shop. An iced green tea and a coffee sit behind it. A laptop rests on the book's right.

Alexis:

I’ve been trying to read more sci-fi and dystopian, so I was excited when I won this book and got it in the mail!

The Ones We’re Meant to Find follows sisters Kasey and Cee. Cee is stuck on an abandoned island with nothing but a robot for company. She has amnesia, but she does remember her sister, Kasey, is out there somewhere. And she needs to find her.

Kasey is a 16-year-old STEM prodigy living in an eco-city, which is basically a city hovering in mid-air that’s an oasis from the rest of the polluted planet. She has always felt like a loner, and she can’t stop thinking about when Cee went missing.

I really liked how Kasey and Cee have opposite personalities. Cee is a caring, social butterfly, and Kasey the quiet loner; their characters are foils of each other, and it works well. 

I read He’s debut novel, The Descendant of the Crane, and I feel like both her writing style and her characterization have improved! The pacing was great, and I enjoyed seeing the plot unfurl, along with a massive plot twist.

That being said, if I’m being honest, I sometimes wasn’t sure what was going on in Kasey’s chapters. Because she’s a scientist, her chapters contain a lot of science, and I had to re-read certain paragraphs, especially since He created the future science herself. I honestly feel like I need to just re-read the entire book to get a better picture, as I sometimes had a hard time picturing what the world looked like. I almost wanted more info dumps, because scientific and futuristic technology was thrown at the reader rather than explained.

I also had a bit of a hard time connecting with Kasey, as she often felt a little too unfeeling; however, I know that was intentional, so I didn’t let it affect my overall rating. 

I was especially invested in Cee’s story and the mystery of her past. I loved the themes of humanity, sisterhood, and the environment. And not to mention, I love the cover!

VERDICT: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Review: Idlewild by Nick Sagan

Alexis: Read 4/7/19

A teenager wakes up in the middle of a pumpkin patch with amnesia. He doesn’t know who he is, where he is, or what’s going on. He only knows that he was shocked so badly that he couldn’t move, causing his amnesia, and that he knows someone named Lazarus is dead, and someone just tried to kill him, as well.

Idlewind is like a mix between The Matrix and The Maze Runner. I don’t usually go for sc-fi, but I found myself enjoying the change of pace. I truly loved the beginning of the book. I found it really original and creative, and I enjoyed Sagan’s worldbuilding. I loved learning about Halloween’s character alongside him as his memory slowly started to resurface. I liked Sagan’s conversational writing style and I found Halloween’s gothic character interesting.

I also enjoyed the structure of the book. The majority of the book is in first person from Halloween’s POV, while excerpts in the beginning of each chapter focus on characters from the past. Sections called “Pace Transmission”s intersect the chapters. At first, these make no sense, but I found them helpful as the book progresses.

It’s hard to talk about this book without giving anything away. I feel like it’s best to go into it without knowing much. My overall consensus of the book is that I loved the first ¾ of it, including the plot twists and reveals, but thought the ending fell flat. I also wasn’t a fan of how the characters progressed, and I also didn’t like the characterizations of the female characters. In that regard, Idlewild feels very early 2000’s.

However, if you’re in the mood for a creative, apocalyptic sci-fi read with a large dash of virtual reality, I definitely recommend it. Most of the book was 4 stars for me, but the ending knocked it down ½ a star.

VERDICT: 3 ½ stars

 

SPOILERS BELOW:

 

My biggest issue with the ending was the reveal of Mercutio as Lazarus’ killer. I felt like there wasn’t any buildup or real evidence or motivations for this to make sense. I also didn’t feel like I knew the secondary characters well enough, especially since Halloween himself was still figuring everyone else out. Because of this, Simone and Mercutio’s deaths didn’t affect me, and I’m not really sure I want to continue reading the series. Halloween’s reaction to the ending felt a bit melodramatic, even for his already melodramatic character.