It’s Lark’s seventeenth birthday, and although she’s hated to be reminded of the day ever since her mom’s death three years ago, it’s off to a great start. Lark has written a killer song to perform with her band, the weather is stunning and she’s got a date with gorgeous Alec. The two take a canoe out on the lake, and everything is perfect—until Lark hears the screams. Annabelle, a little girl she used to babysit, is drowning in the nearby reeds while Annabelle’s mom tries desperately to reach her. Lark and Alec are closer, and they both dive in. But Alec hits his head on a rock in the water and begins to flail.
Alec and Annabelle are drowning. And Lark can save only one of them.
Lark chooses, and in that moment her world splits into two distinct lives. She must live with the consequences of both choices. As Lark finds herself going down more than one path, she has to decide: Which life is the right one?
Book Club discussion highlights:
This novel certainly brought a mixed discussion to our group this month. Some of us couldn’t get into the story, some of us read through curious to see how it ended, all of us agreed the characters were not written deep enough. We all seemed to have an undertone of liking some things this novel offered, and not being able to connect with other things.
We all agreed the structure of the book was interesting. Told from two points of view, but from the same character, Lark, as she lived parallel lives during the aftermath of a tragedy. The book offered an interesting physical structure as there were longer sections (multiple chapters worth) from one point of view, before switching to the other, and then as the story moved on the sections switched sooner and sooner with the chapters alternating back and forth near the end.
We agreed that the story could have been pushed further, we seemed to have a general consensus that we expected more, however that may have been due to a lack of connection to the characters. This story was more character driven, however, we agreed that the characters were kept too shallow, we were hoping for more depth and layers. Connecting to the characters was difficult, as well as finding them likable, or feeling empathy towards them. We liked some of the secondary characters more than the main characters. It was the fast pace of the story that kept us reading.
We were intrigued by how well Kuipers stitched the two worlds together, and had them eventually rejoin at the end. (That is not a spoiler…) She actually did an amazing job of showing two parallel lives, and at times those lives crossed paths. These scenes were quite cinematic and enjoyable.
Although not every member felt the book was of interest to them, the general consensus was Kuipers pulled off the parallel worlds well, the writing was good, the characters could have used a bit more depth, the structure was interesting and worked, the story was fast-paced, and we all wanted to know what Lark’s decision was at the end.
Although, not quite by everyone, most of us would recommend this book.
This is an unsolicited review. I purchased my copy from Amazon.ca.
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: HarperTrophy; 1st Edition edition (April 11 2017)
- ISBN-13: 978-1443448826