“This is the story of how my best friend disappeared. How nobody noticed she was gone except me. And how nobody cared until they found her . . . one year later.”
Before I give my reasons, I’m just going to say that this story is not for everyone. I merely enjoyed this book for its characters and their development. There are some trigger warnings that readers should be aware of:
unchallenged slut-shaming, homophobia (sort of challenged but not really), fat shaming, sexual assault, domestic violence abuse, parental abandonment
Reason #1: The Friendship Between Claudia and Monday +Family Themes
Claudia and Monday have a special relationship. They considered themselves to be soul sisters and they are almost practically twins. The relationship between these two girls shows how family can come in different forms and doesn’t need to be any blood relation. Monday’s blood family is dysfunctional and abusive and Monday considers Claudia’s family as her own. We see how Claudia and her family is like a safe space. I feel like our people stresses the importance of blood family and how they can get a free pass for their horrific actions because they are related. Blood and marriage don’t dictate who is considered as family and I think it’s crucial the readers acknowledge that.
Reason #2: The Multiple Timelines Makes the Story a Lot More Compelling +Storytelling
I thought with THREE timelines, I would be utterly confused (also, a lot of reviewers said the timeline almost ruined the story for them). Although it takes some time getting used to, I thought this weaving of the timelines was done beautifully. Honestly, I thought it was essential to the story and added an element that makes the story all more compelling. We don’t really understand why there are so many timelines until the end of the story and we see how everything makes a full circle. If you are an avid mystery/thriller, the “twist” may annoy you but for me, the storytelling was well-worth it in the end. Jackson just has a way of words that almost left be breathless.
Reason #4: Claudia’s Character Development
Claudia goes through a lot of character development in the story. In the beginning, she wasn’t really her own person and was often in Monday’s shadow, Claudia was almost dependent on Monday to the point that Claudia could not think for herself. However, with Monday out of the picture, we see how Claudia tries to find her truth. She discovers simple things such as new dance moves and friends and bigger stuff such as she has dyslexia (because Claudia did most of her homework). She finds love with a cute church boy, has more appreciation for her family, and
Reason #5: Amazing Dialogue About Intelligence
Like I said before, Claudia discovers she has dyslexia when she starts to fall behind her studies after Monday is missing. Because of this, the school places Claudia into a program to give her more assistance, but unfortunately, the program has a bad name (” the stupid class”). We see Claudia’s struggle with her diagnosis since she’s embarrassed about being placed in the program. Throughout the story, there’s also other conversations surrounding intelligence such as the decision to go to college, the different types of intelligence and even the stigmas about people who may need extra help in schooling.
“But Ma says college isn’t for everyone. Degrees don’t mean you’re smart, and Daddy’s the smartest man I know. He saved every dime he made as a truck driver before meeting Ma. Enough to buy our first home.”
There are a lot more themes that I did not touch on (the housing minor subplot in the novel and the importance of community) but this post would be way too long. This book was just gripping from the start and Jackson really made me want to just give Claudia a big ole hug. The story does have its problems but with the writing and wonderful character development, the gripes of the story didn’t bother me too much. Another gem you should add to your TBR.