Ezra is ruled by the ghosts of his past—and needled by the guilt they create. Not only does he have to manage his own guilt—his friends are forced to bear the weight as well. He lives in limbo, never dreaming of anything that lies beyond the grave.
In his mind, he’s a murderer, pure and simple.
Hide and seek is Aysa’s game. She begs for small spaces and empty places. But, she secretly desires so much more.
When they find each other, a hope for something new is sprung.
But Ezra’s skeletons are out for blood.
“I hide shock well. I’m a pro at hiding. I have no idea that whatever he had to tell me would be so personal—so heartbreaking. But, I quickly remembered that heartbreak was all around him every time he turned around. He needs no more empathy or sympathy in his life. He craves someone to give him a different take on a tired situation. And different is practically my middle name.”
***I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author.
- Aysa is painfully awkward. She takes everything personally, over analyzes, doesn’t know her self-worth and hides herself away as if she is unworthy to breathe. It’s sickening and horribly sad how something from her childhood was imprinted so thoroughly on her psyche that she lost the ability to blossom into the compassionate, and yeah, really weird young woman she was destined to become. Aysa’s trauma is not a trigger-worthy incident, it’s small and cemented by a series of domino effect actions that push her further in the dark. I really was awed at how Lila Felix illustrated the power that the tiniest vicious words or actions can have on a person, no matter what age. Aysa’s insecurity radiates in everything she does, from how she can’t make decisions, how she’s a people pleaser, but that didn’t stop her from accomplishing independence from her family and a college degree. Aysa is not always likable and kudos to Lila for that, the need for a character to be perfect, to be strong, to be confident is not always a great method at getting to the heart and soul of the character-to their humanity.
- The overall tone is laid back it almost feels like something written in the 80s where it’s slower, relaxed, and incredibly realistic. It chronicles the trials of new adults coming into adulthood and trying to figure out where they belong. The in between phase where they want to be kids but feel the need to grow up, to mature, and get out into the “real” world.
- Ezra is hard to know. His life is so intertwined with a memory that it’s almost as if he exists only to keep the tragedy alive. His substance is fleeting and varies. He lets the past dictate his present to the extent that it stunts his growth and he’s almost like a shadow of a person. It’s startling and sad when Ezra wakes from this melancholy slumber and realizes that he doesn’t know what his likes or dislikes are, everything is discovered with an epiphany-like wonder and fear.
- Together, Ezra and Aysa are a series of trials and errors. Of hurts and misunderstandings. They simultaneously repel and attract. They’re both toxic and medication for each other. It’s bizarre, it doesn’t always work but it’s true and gets to the grit of relationships. Not everything is perfect or easy, sometimes we put ourselves in situations because we are thirsting for something found in the other person and it may not be healthy but it’s something that happens more often than is discussed in literature.
- Some sections are slow and drag a little, the momentum throughout is muted because of the general style. Both characters are stuck in their own heads, trapped by their own trauma that doesn’t allow them to function as “normal” adults in their 20s.
- A few of Aysa’s actions are abrupt and feel like huge overreactions. Aysa and Ezra are both unstable and tend to fly off the handle on occasion when they are emotionally distraught but Aysa’s reasoning was questionable and sort of had me cocking an eyebrow in confusion.
- A particular scene, the climax, or at least the axis that tipped the scales of the story, was predictable to an extent. How Ezra couldn’t have felt/saw this is the process was unbelievable, especially because in the other scenes he was a pretty light sleepier. There’s some haze over what sinister methods were used but they’re not outlined.
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