Sally Holt was a young 13-year-old girl, just starting the 8th grade, when she loses her older sister very suddenly. As this novel begins, an adult Sally seems to be talking to her long gone sister and is reminiscing of long past days – their relationship, the luminescent stars they had on the ceiling of their bedroom, the late-night random conversations they would have, and of course about Billy Barnes, the boy that Kathy secretly adored, and therefore, Sally loved too. As we learn from Sally, they lived an idyllic life with loving parents, Over time, Kathy & Billy became a couple, while Sally struggled with the ever-widening gap between she and her sister, as Kathy entered high school. Then, everything changed.
Sally continues to talk to her now deceased sister, describing the events that would change her entire world and of those that they loved. How bereft she felt, alone in the bedroom they shared, struggling to come to terms with the unfathomable loss, and the finality of the moment. She describes the changes to her own life and those of her parents, and of Billy, whom she secretly reaches out to, as she knows only he can understand her great loss.
As the years go by, we learn of the long-term impacts on Sally and her family, borne of such a shattering loss and how Sally’s present remains ever shaped by the events of that long ago morning. All in all, a very real, painful, sometimes funny, yet heart-breaking look into a devastating loss and growing up with the grief, as it becomes an indelible part of who we are.
This was a big change from my usual genre, but I always like to give new authors a look, and this novel gives a lot of feels – love, humor, loss, despair & hope. My only complaint was the ending – because it just ends – and yet it was time. But this one will resonate long after the final page is turned…
I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley & Henry Holt & Company in exchange for an objective review. Do you love to read?? Visit netgalley.com and start reviewing books today!!