Janie and Micah, Micah and Janie. That’s how it’s been ever since elementary school, when Janie Vivien moved next door. Janie says Micah is everything she is not. Where Micah is shy, Janie is outgoing. Where Micah loves music, Janie loves art. It’s the perfect friendship—as long as no one finds out about it. But then Janie goes missing and everything Micah thought he knew about his best friend is colored with doubt.
***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via Edelweiss & Greenwillow Books
+++Contains what may be triggers for some: rape
- I feel like writing an open love letter to Amy Zhang’s writing style. Absolutely stunning. That perfect blend of simple, spot on description, and poetry made the writer in me sigh in contentment. There are so many quotable sections ❤
- Janie’s diary entries are thought provoking, magical, bittersweet glimpses into her mind that pull you in and make you love her. She’s impulsive and fun, romantic, quotes Virginia Woolf, and finds the beauty in simple things. Her entries are classic, once upon a time reimaginings of her life that say so much more than her POV sections do. They’re heartbreaking and brutal. Watching Janie lose herself, her hope, is agony.
- Micah’s selective amnesia is scattered and fleeting, it hits with a punch. The memories are bright places in his dark pain. How he sees Janie is like a revelation. How Janie explains her connection is Micah is beyond anything, everything. Think Philip Pullman The Amber Spyglass sort of infinite, universe-defying love. Micah is confused and hurting. His mind has locked away the truth and it’s one he doesn’t want to face. He can’t bear to face.
- When “it” happens, it’s relatable, easy to understand how things can be taken too far. How trapped and hurt. All the emotions are there in bursting torture and memory. The guilt, the nagging that she should have fought harder, that she let herself down, that no one would listen, that her voice doesn’t count. All of this is so relevant and so important to talk about. I adored that Amy Zhang made Janie’s diary entries turn dark, almost Grimm, when this horrible incident happened. The shift made the emotions all the more powerful.
- Micah flows through life on the outskirts. He doesn’t really have a purpose or a function other than orbiting around Janie’s sunburst personality. He’s a kind of take it or leave it character. Other than his gentle, laid back kindness and way he worships Janie, it’s hard to ship him.
- When Micah finally does know the truth, the processing is absent. Like nonexistent. He breaks briefly and THE END. I expected more. Arguably, his amnesia is the coping process but there was just something that didn’t sit right. It seemed too easy to go on. Fleeting.
***NOTE: I am using this to fulfill when the main character has the same first initial on the 2016 YA Reading Challenge
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