on February 21st 2017
Genres: young adult, contemporary
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Mira and Francesca Cillo—beautiful, overprotected, odd—seemed untouchable. But Ben touched seven parts of Mira: her palm, hair, chest, cheek, lips, throat, and heart. After the sisters drown themselves in the quarry lake, a post-mortem letter from Mira sends Ben on a quest to find notes in the seven places where they touched. Note by note, Ben discovers the mystical secret at the heart of Mira and Francesca's world, and that some things are better left untouched.
What the hell did I just read?
I so did not see the religious story line coming. That’s not to say it was bad, it was just completely unexpected. And the thing is, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone that decides to read it, so I won’t, but you need to know that the synopsis is pretty misleading and this book is really not a mystery at all. It presents itself as one, but it isn’t. It’s about two sisters who are found dead in a local swimming hole that used to be a mine and is now a quarry. The story unfolds and it’s more about the Cillo sisters family than the mystery around the Cillo sisters’ death.
The writing is absolutely stunning–poetic, delightful turns of phrase, vivid imagery that really creates an unsettling atmosphere throughout the entire novel minus a few convoluted sentences here and there. It’s creepy, and yet, I wonder why? There was no need for it because the novel turned out to be not a mystery at all, so why all the misleading of the reader just to disappoint them in the end?
And then there was all that build-up only to end in such an anticlimactic way. I expected more. But the good stuff? It was a quick read with well-developed characters that had questionable motives that kept me guessing. But I don’t like when books present themselves as one thing and then end up being another. I’m not sure if I should blame that on the publisher (for that awful blurb) or the author for writing it that way. To me, it wasn’t just the case of an unreliable narrator. It was a book presenting itself as something it was not. I remember this happening to me one other time with book, so it’s an incredibly rare thing to have happen and not one I care to repeat.
Despite all that, I still am rating this one 3.5 stars, and that’s mostly because I thought the writing was absolutely gorgeous, and the characters, though not ones I related to at all, were well developed. Also, this book took place in a culture I have absolutely no experience with (Boston Italian Catholics) and I feel like I learned a lot. I definitely like this author’s writing enough to give her another chance. It just depends on the subject matter.