What you saw today in the covert, I’m not the monster I might have looked like. But when you find out what I’m hiding from you, I might as well be.
Published: March 20th, 2018
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 336 (hardcover)
Series: N/A – Standalone
“Ever see a forest fire when it’s just on the cusp of really catching? Right before it takes on a life of its own, and it’s beautiful to watch but also frightening?”
The town of Glory is famous for two things: businesses that front for seedy, if not illegal, enterprises and the suicides that happen along the Indigo River. Marsden is desperate to escape the “bed-and-breakfast” where her mother works as a prostitute—and where her own fate has been decided—and she wants to give her little sister a better life. But escape means money, which leads Mars to skimming the bodies that show up along the Indigo River.
It’s there that she runs into Jude, who has secrets of his own and whose brother’s suicide may be linked to Mars’s own sordid family history. As they grow closer, the two unearth secrets that could allow them to move forward . . . or chain them to the Indigo forever.
Thanks so much to the publisher, the author, and NetGalley for providing me a copy of this beautiful book! I don’t think any synopsis could have prepared me for what I found inside. Before going any further I want to state this review and this book might be a trigger for issues like suicide and abuse, so proceed with caution.
This book hit me like a sucker punch, I really wasn’t expecting to be so entranced. There were a lot of deep issues that came into play in this book; racism, discrimination, prostitution, child abuse, gambling, suicide, theft, and murder. Needless to say, there is a lot going on in this book.
I related to Marsden on so many levels; being an older sister and feeling responsible for the safety and happiness of your younger sibling is not an easy thing, especially when it seems you’re the only one who really cares. Her mother isn’t really a mother, her father is dead, her grandmother is dead, and the only person who really cares for her is her little sister. It can be hard to toe the line between a sister and a mother, and I related to Marsden’s struggle with this.
Marsden’s main focus is getting her and her little sister away from Glory and in order to do that she stalks the covert at night for dead bodies to steal from. Then she find the body of Rigby Ambrose and steals more than just money from his pockets, she also finds a note. It’s addressed to his little brother, Jude, who shows up later and asks for Marsden’s help with finding a time capsule Rigby hid in the covert when he was younger. Jude has no idea that Mars is a skimmer or that she has that note, but those aren’t the only secrets they’re hiding from one another. At the same time, Marsden is starting to feel convinced that her dad’s death wasn’t really a suicide, and begins silently investigating it. With all this going on, Jude and Marsden get closer and closer and realize they have a lot more in common than death.
I was so interested in the dynamics of this book. The way Marsden and her mother were strained and the relationship seemed to be flipped. How Marsden tried so hard to hear the dead and get some answers for once in her life. How Marsden tried to hide herself so no one would ask too many questions. How she tried so hard to keep her little sister a carefree child for just a little longer. How she fell in love with Jude so naturally.
The romance that blossomed between the two was so sweet and heartfelt, it was more than just an attraction, it was something deeper. They were the two ‘different’ kids in school, the outsiders. Jude is half black while Marsden has Chinese heritage on her mother’s side, they don’t look like the other kids in town and Marsden feels that deeply and wonders if Jude feels it the same way. “So that she couldn’t help but glance over and imagine what it was like for him, growing up in Glory half-black, while nearly everyone else was white, white, white. She wondered if he ever got paranoid over a lengthy stare, at a laugh that came from behind as soon as he moved past, whenever someone else got chosen for something with no real explanation. If he was sometimes confused about why the white half of him didn’t make him belong.” This was the most interesting dynamic of them all. It was refreshing to see how being different in a town like this makes your view of everything different, how this colors your every interaction.
Let me say that the writing style for this book was beautiful. Like this was honestly just a beautifully written book, from the vivid way she describes the covert to how she can accurately portray feelings of loss, guilt, and shame. While the characters and plot of this book are wonderful, it’s really the lush writing style that draws you in and makes you hungry for more.
There were several smaller plot lines happening at the same time that all intersected at the end of the book, and boy was the ending good. There was a huge twist that I never saw coming, and a nice little happy ending that didn’t leave anything more to be desired. Not that I wouldn’t like more of these characters, but the ending was such that there weren’t anymore questions that needed to be answered. I felt heartbroken, happy, satisfied, and relieved all at the same time. This book brought out so many emotions in me it’s hard to pin down what one I felt the most, but let me say this; I loved this book. It deals with some really sensitive but important subject matter, and I think it was a perfect example of how deeply moving young adult literature can be.