Book Riot recommended this novel via their YouTube channel several months ago and I ended up picking up my copy at the airport on the way to Cancún. I finished it within the week I spent on vacation last Thanksgiving with my parents. Yes, even while in Cancún, the novel grabbed my attention enough for me to make time to find out how it ends.
Where do I begin? I don’t want to say, “it’s sooooooo good,” and sound so basic, if you will, for lack of a better word, but that is one way to describe it. Now I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before and I haven’t searched my own blog to check, but thrillers are not my favorite thing to read or watch. Needless to say, I made an exception for this book. That black rose on the cover intrigued me, to say the least, in a way that I was drawn to the idea that pretty things like pretty girls have not just a layer of dark secrets, but a layer of ugly. This layer is hidden underneath, waiting to be pulled back. So you see, I had to turn the pages to find what I was looking for, especially when the back cover claimed this girl had the perfect life.
Spoiler alert: she did not. But she does break it down to you slowly what happened in her past, using flashbacks and jumping back and forth between the past and the present. When she gets to the “aha!” moment, you feel so bad for what happened to her, her secret layer, you wish no girl has to ever go through what she went through as a teen and you wonder if a girl like her is really lucky to be alive. But then again, if she had not survived, there’d be no girls out there who could lend a voice to all the other girls out there who experienced the same kind of horror.
Because you see, this book may have been fiction, and I have never met the author or was present in her life when she was younger, but there is some raw truth in here that if you have not gone through what she has gone through you would want to listen and reach out.
Show interest is what they said. But I would tell them there are certain moments in life you really wish you were inside a soundproof room so you could scream all your problems away. Or at least rid yourself of that nasty feeling in the pit of your stomach that seems to nag at you in the least convenient way possible at the most awkward moments in time. How do you do it?
There’s no way someone could see through to your thoughts. You have to express them in words, but what if there are no words to describe what you are going through? What if you must use dance or pictures, but you have none at hand and no footloose skills? Time. Someone would need to observe you when you don’t know they are watching. At the very least they would be able to deduce whether you have integrity or not. When you’re driving on the highway are you one of those who slows down as soon as a cop is driving by? Or do you follow the speed limit no matter what?
Don’t be too of anything. Too smart. Too skinny. Too boring. Too broken. We’re all broken though. Show me someone who’s not broken and I’ll show you someone who’s lying. Show interest is what they said. But I would tell them grab a parachute and just jump already.
Even the best doctor in the world doesn’t know you as well as you know you. A doctor has to ask you questions to get to the root of the problem if you have a health concern. And yeah, maybe you have no idea what’s wrong, but your doctor wasn’t there the night your father walked out on your mother, leaving a hole in your heart you will never be able to fill and a giant question mark in the pit of your stomach. Your doctor wasn’t there the night you got up to get some milk because you couldn’t sleep and then heard your mother weeping into her pillow. Don’t forget your doctor wasn’t there the time you slid down the slide backwards and landed on your neck. Or the time you stayed out all night driving around town just because you wanted to see what it was like at night. Your doctor wasn’t there when you got your first kiss at your sweet sixteen underneath the bleachers. Your doctor wasn’t there when you fell off the stage after tripping over your long dress. No, your doctor wasn’t there when you witnessed a boy getting beaten up by another boy for not liking girls the same way he does.
There are some things a doctor cannot explain or help you understand. There are some pains a doctor cannot treat. There are some moments in your life you will not be able to describe to your doctor unless they were there with you when it happened. The doctor just prescribes what you need based on what you tell him or her. It is up to you to take care of yourself. And sometimes that is the most confusing place to be.
More and more her thoughts grew, like an ulcer inside of a stomach. Then one day, the VCR in her brain ejected a novel.
The robins were everywhere. It was starting to look like an Alfred Hitchcock movie. They were searching for the unlucky worms kicked out of their apartments due to flooding.
Sometimes we have robins after us and we are the worms—no safe place to crawl when pushed to the brink of insanity. So we take the first step we have to because this step is the only way out of our current crazy situation. We are forced to take a chance on our lives. No one really knows what will happen, but those who are resilient will survive and even thrive.
Sometimes we are the robins and we are after the worms—taking advantage of new opportunities that pop up, even at the expense of someone else’s life path. So we find people when they are vulnerable and pounce when it’s the appropriate time to snatch away the future that was supposed to be theirs. Maybe at first this new future belongs to us and feels good, but not long after the guilt sinks in and you live in fear someone somewhere will do the same to you one day.
The million dollar question is, are you the robin or the worm?