A captivating family drama! Olive and her father Jonathan are trying to come to terms with the death of Billie, their mother and wife. The 1-year anniversary is coming up and Jonathan is trying to get the courts to declare her legally dead so he and Olive can move on. The problem is no body was every found. Then, out of the blue, Olive starts seeing visions of her mother and becomes convinced that not only is she still alive but that she is in trouble and they must find her. Jonathan is writing a memoir of Billie and finds himself very conflicted when he discovers things about his wife that seem to indicate she may have just run off. At the same time, he needs the money from the sale of the book in order to keep going. When Olive starts skipping classes, and Billie’s best friend starts hitting on him, everything seems to be spinning out of control.
I wasn’t sure at the beginning if I was going to like this book but I ended up not being able to put it down. I confess I was the one at the 4th of July concert who was glued to the e-reader the whole time. The first couple of chapters seemed a bit slow to get going but when the story took off, it took off in a big way. I was totally sucked into Olive and Jonathan’s world and the emotional tug-of-war that each was going through as they learned more and more of Billie’s secrets. Olive is a very likable teenager, going through the usual teenage things when she starts having visions. She believes in her visions but at the same time tries to understand them in an adult way. Jonathan has lost the love of his life but is trying his best to carry on for the sake of his daughter. As he discovers the truth about Billie’s past he runs the gamut of emotions from betrayal to devotion. At the same time, he’s facing the possibility of financial ruin and must change his view of what it means to be a family. I found both of these characters to be very well written. Their internal and external dialogues are totally believable as are the circumstances they find themselves in. I also really enjoyed that the story is set in Berkeley, CA since I am familiar with the area. Overall, this is a great piece of fiction and a beautiful story.
Alinefromabook’s rating: 4 stars!!