“Hawthorn wasn’t trying to insert herself into a missing person’s investigation. Or maybe she was. But that’s only because Lizzie Lovett’s disappearance is the one fascinating mystery their sleepy town has ever had. Bad things don’t happen to popular girls like Lizzie Lovett, and Hawthorn is convinced she’ll turn up at any moment-which means the time for speculation is now.
So Hawthorn comes up with her own theory for Lizzie’s disappearance. A theory way too absurd to take seriously…at first. The more Hawthorn talks, the more she believes. And what better way to collect evidence than to immerse herself in Lizzie’s life? Like getting a job at the diner where Lizzie worked and hanging out with Lizzie’s boyfriend. After all, it’s not as if he killed her-or did he?
Told with a unique voice that is both hilarious and heart-wrenching, Hawthorn’s quest for proof may uncover the greatest truth is within herself.”
Release date: January 3rd, 2017
**I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**
I adored this book even though it was strange not much really happened throughout the story. I had to think about it for a few days after finishing it in order to thoughtfully write a review.
Hawthorn is, without a doubt, an interesting character. She is eccentric, overly imaginative, and even a little detached from reality. She has absolutely no filter both in her internal monologue and her dialogue with other characters. It took me a few chapters to get into the writing style because at first it felt like an onslaught of random, unrelated thoughts. We quite literally get every single thought that pops into Hawthorn’s head. Every crazy, unrelated, off topic thought. Did anyone else get some Holden Caulfield vibes? Here is a small excerpt when Hawthorn describes her brother walking into the kitchen in the morning. He looks a little run down, and she immediately comes to the conclusion that he must be a zombie. Then she goes with it:
“….if I tried to save us both, there was a good chance I’d get bitten in the process, and then I’d have roughly twenty-four hours before I became a zombie too. And from what I’ve read, the process of turning into a zombie is totally painful.”
Much of the book flows like this with Hawthorn going off on these crazy tangents, but strangely, it works. Once I got into the flow of the writing style, I actually enjoyed Hawthorn’s erratic thoughts. Don’t we all have random thoughts that pop into our heads? For example, whenever someone makes fun of her in school, Hawthorn has the habit of wishing “bad” things would happen to them. She explains that one time she told her mother that she wished she would die, and after her mother told her that was not appropriate, she now moderates her wishes.
“That’s when I started to think bad thoughts. Like how I wished someone would replace Mychelle’s fancy shampoo with a drugstore brand. I wished she would suddenly forget the name of her five favorite songs. I wished every time she microwaved a frozen burrito, the center would stay cold.”
I found this very humorous and enjoyed these little rants. However, towards the end they did get a little repetitive and I found myself skimming over them. While Hawthorn absolutely has some funny thoughts, there is also a lot of heartbreaking and real moments about growing up and being comfortable in your own skin. My heart broke for her every time she was humiliated in class. It often felt like the entire world was against her, and that is certainly what Hawthorn was feeling.
“The thing is, Emily was right. I was jealous of Lizzie, but not of how pretty and popular and perfect she was. I envied Lizzie’s happiness. It seemed unfair that she should have so much of it when other people had too little”
The story itself is mostly a coming of age story. It centers around Hawthorn’s obsession with the disappearance of Lizzie Lovett, a girl that attended her school a few years earlier. Lizzie is the typical popular girl- pretty, cheerleader, well-liked by her peers. Hawthorn sees herself as the opposite of that- strange and a loner. After Lizzie disappears, Hawthorn works at the same restaurant as Lizze and even becomes friends with her boyfriend, Enzo, in an attempt to understand why Lizzie disappeared. She comes up with some pretty crazy theories and becomes obsessive about it. There’s not much more to the actual plot, but throughout the story Hawthorn learns important lessons about herself, her relationships and her future.
Yes, the story is about Lizzie’s disappearance. But it isn’t really about that. Its about Hawthorn coming to terms with the fact that Lizzie is everything Hawthorn thought she wanted to be. But who was Lizzie, really? Why did she disappear? What did she do after high school? These are all questions Hawthorn constantly theorizes. She cannot comprehend something bad happening to someone like Lizzie Lovett, because bad things don’t happen to girls like Lizzie. Instead of this story being about Lizzie, it is about Hawthorn coming to terms with who she is and how she manages her relationships with others. I also absolutely adored her relationship with her brother. They fight all the time and yet they have their tender moments and you see that Rush loves his little sister.
This book is definitely not a gripping page-turner, but that’s okay. It ended how I expected it to, yet I was still satisfied. There are so many quotable moments in this book, my ebook is full of highlighted passages! Yes, Hawthorn’s world is strange, but its all strange in a way that works for this story. The hippies in the front yard, Vernon at the cafe, the endless search in the woods for supernatural creatures- these all make up Hawthorn’s world and it helps us understand her better in the end. Sedoti does an excellent job of giving us a truly intimate, unfiltered view into someone’s mind. If you plan on reading it, my advice is to stick with it and enjoy the ride.