SUMMARY AND SPOILER-FREE REVIEW:
Set in the Cape Cod village of Provincetown, Massachusetts, this is the story about 17-year-old Jackie's struggle to overcome her grief and confusion after her best friend is carried out to sea during a storm. Lorna had been the dynamic leader of a tight-knit group of four friends - Jackie, Lucas and Finn - and her disappearance changes the dynamics between the surviving three. Jackie is still hiding her feelings for Finn, who had been Lorna's boyfriend, and Lucas has withdrawn to the point where Jackie wonders if he is keeping a secret even larger than her own. Meanwhile the future looms, and Jackie fears leaving the only life she has known.
When I went to the post office to pick up a package I had no idea what contained, I did not know I would end up loving it so much. Local Girl Swept Away was sent to me in exchange for an honest review on my blog, so I want to thank the amazing people over at Merit Press for gifting me with such a beautiful and emotional story.
After Lorna's accident, we follow our main character, Jackie, through her grief, fighting off her own demons, trying to get over her best friend's death, but, at the same time, frightened to move on and forget about her. It was really horrifying to read about losing a friend from a very close point of view. However, we also see her grow out of her ashes when she finds an old friendship she did not even realise she had lost. That friendship will make her see and evaluate her life in perspective.
That friendship established between Jackie and an old friend of hers, is a great life lesson... We sometimes think something is a certain way just because we never try to look at it from a different point of view. And it turns out that a lot of times we think we know someone, and we are actually completely wrong.
This novel talks about friendship, its power to destroy someone's individuality, and its opposite power to save those who are stuck in a very bad place. Some friendships are built out of need and hope to find something better, but we seldom realise we can be losing some hopeful and bright part of us in our way to get there.
Jackie and Finn, Lorna's boyfriend, hold on to each other and try to make their way back to their rested and happy lives, but it gets quite complicated. Mostly because getting over the death of a loved one is hard itself, but partly because developing feelings towards each other may be as destructive as Lorna's death. As hard as Jackie fights her all-time-feelings for Finn, she can not help but feel hopeful now that her flawless, wild and pretty best friend is not there anymore. And that makes her feel guilty, and might end up cracking her, as well as Finn.
As of Lucas, he acts all weird, and this two other friends do not understand. There are a lot of things they do not understand, such as how it was possible for Lorna to fall into the sea.
This novel is led by not only a touching protagonist and a well-developed group of friends, but also the undeniable mystery feeling, the lack of certainty about past events... It makes you think and wonder, make up possible answers to your own unanswered questions... Simply great.
There are twists here and there, jaw-dropping confessions, secrets, truths... The author did an amazing job keeping the tension and the need to never put the book down. I went to sleep after hours of reading and could only wish for free time the next morning to pick it up again.
Apart of the drama within the pages, there is also a very special and encouraging message: fight for the life you want. Jackie has always dreamt about becoming an artist, taking pictures being her favourite hobby, but everyone seems to think artists do not have the future she deserves. Finn's mother, an artist herself, loves Jackie and her talent, so she helps her and supports her every decision... Among the pain blinding Jackie since Lorna's death, she finds art to be her anchor, and she holds on to it with her life, determined to show everyone that it does not matter what they all think of her, she will fight for her dreams.
I really hope the author writes a sequel, or at least an epilogue, because I am starting to miss the characters, and I still can not believe how nerve-wrecking and frustrating it was to read the last few pages. I got incredibly attached to most of them, and I blame it all on the great and phenomenal way of creating such realistic people and emotional situations.
Friendship, love, family, grief, hope, confusion... all in Ellen Wittlinger's latest novel. Blurbed by John Green, this author's style will leave you breathless and speechless.
Hello there, little anchors! I hope you enjoyed what you read about 'Local Girl Swept Away'. I am sorry I could not express half the things I felt while reading it with words, I just could no find good enough words to describe it. I guess you must find it out yourself, and that is why I am going to be giving away a hardback copy of the book to a US/Canada resident, and a digital copy for any of you who enters and wins (which means, it is open internationally!)
This giveaway is the way I chose to celebrate the first anniversary of Marta's Bookshelf, so I really hope you enter and share it, because I planned it with all my heart for you!
I want to thank Merit Press for helping me with this giveaway, and I want to thank you all for supporting this little blog of mine during the past year. None of this would have been possible without you.