Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: April 3rd 2014
by Chicken House LTD
The closest he will ever come to happiness is when he's hurting her. Will she let him? A beautiful and twisted story of first love and innocence lost--written when the author was just eighteen.
Sphinxie and Cadence. Promised to each other in childhood. Drawn together again as teens. Sphinxie is sweet, compassionate, and plain. Cadence is brilliant, charismatic. Damaged. And diseased. When they were kids, he scarred her with a knife. Now, as his illness progresses, he becomes increasingly demanding. She wants to be loyal--but fears for her life. Only the ultimate sacrifice will give this love an ending.
-A copy was provided by Scholastic for review-
I don’t even really know where to start with this book. While reading it all I could think was “this reading is somehow intoxicating but this story is really one of the worst I have ever read.” So, I guess you can take that for what it is.
From the first page I was a fan of the writing, it was strong, pretty and sucked me in as fast as could be. I enjoyed Sphinx’s (yes, her mother named her Sphinx) voice even though I didn’t really come to like her for who she was. The pace of the story was also really fast, stuff kept happening, people kept moving, emotions kept rising and that really kept me engrossed in the story. It was a trainwreck really, you know you shouldn’t look but you just can’t take your eyes off of it.
Ok, now I have run out of nice things to say about this book. The actual storyline was probably one of the worst I have ever read and it led me to shake my head and laugh out loud while reading it often (and the latter was not for HA-HA reasons, it was for YOU-HAVE-GOT-TO-BE-FUCKING-KIDDING-ME reasons.) Essentially the story is about a girl and a boy who were born to women who were best friends. These best friends had made a pact when they were younger that one would have a boy, the other would have a girl, then their offspring would get together and have babies and they would become grandmothers together. Everything went according to plan until the boy came out a sociopath. Sphinx is a good girl with a strong head on her shoulders but Cadence is unable to feel emotions of any sort. He doesn’t understand what it is to feel for someone, or react to occurrences around him in an emotional way. I think here is where my biggest problem with the story lies. See, Cadence was literally a textbook sociopath. It’s like the author looked up the definition and encompassed everything she read into this one guy and didn’t give us anything to make us feel for him. He was terrible in every scene he was in, he felt absolutely nothing and he was just a fucking dick. I am well aware that this is how sociopaths are but in the scope of this story it just made everything not work. It didn’t make sense that people would feel emotionally connected to him in any way and it left me, the reader, hating everything about him.
The utter harshness of Cadence’s character also led me to question other characters in the novel. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, Sphinx feels a connection to him. She fights to be there for him in any way that she can even when he is utterly terrible to her at every turn. You guys, he literally NEVER did anything nice in this book. NOT ONCE. These two were friends when they were kids but after Cadence cut Sphinx’s face with a Swiss Army knife his mother packed him up and they moved to London. This was when they were 10, at 16 Cadence gets sick and says he wants to see Sphinx so his mom flies her and her mom out to be with him. After all that time apart, after him CUTTING HER FACE WITH A KNIFE, she feels this intense loyalty that even makes herself consider KILLING HERSELF when he dies so that they can go out of this world together and have it be ART. I shit you not folks, this is the story, I wouldn’t believe it if someone relayed it to me either. Perhaps the “glue that held these two together” was supposed to be their need to fulfill the pact that their mother’s had made when they were younger but I am just not buying any of that mumbo jumbo.
I really don’t have it in me to rant about this rubbish anymore so I am going to cut myself off there but just stay away. Stay far, far away. It really is sad though because I think the writing was strong, but the story was just so bad that no amount of impeccable writing could have ever saved it.