I’ll be your mirror, reflect what you are, in case you don’t know…
In the aftermath of her older sister’s death, sixteen-year-old Carrie is taken under the wings of her sister’s friends, and finds herself forsaking the science nerds of her former life and slipping into a daze of cheap beer and recreational drugs. Carrie – a talented guitar player and obsessive tracker of the coming Vira comet – is partying hard and fooling around with boys she doesn’t even like, even though she’s desperate for a boyfriend.
Her mother, enveloped by grief at the loss of her eldest child, has retreated to a monastery in the Catskills that requires a vow of silence. With her family splintered apart, Carrie is overcome at times by uncontrollable rages and her father decides to send her to a boot camp for wayward teens. Compounding the shame, and to her horror, she is forced to wear work boots and a hard hat – boy poison.
Then she meets Dean, a fellow musician and refugee from his own dark past. Throughout the summer Carrie learns more about Dean, about her sister’s death, about her own family’s past, and about herself…as well as about the Bee Gees, disco and the difference between wood and sheet-rock screws. Through love, music and her precious comet – and no small help from Lou Reed – Carrie fumbles her way through the complex web of tragedies and misunderstandings, to the heart of who she is and who she wants to be.
I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is a YA book set in the 1980s following Carrie whose older sister has died, her family and their struggles to come to terms with what has happened.
This is a slow burn of a book, I’ll admit that it took me a long time to read it as I kept putting it down and then coming back to it. Not a lot of action happens, this book is much more about character development and is very character driven rather than plot driven.
Carrie has spiralled away from being very bright, hard – working student to taking drugs, partying and disobeying her fathers rules. She is initially a very difficult character to like, she has very little respect for the job that has been given and the people that she works with. However, throughout the course of the book we do see her develop and change and begin to come to terms with what has happened.
I felt that Carrie’s mother was an area that perhaps needed to be explored more, and alongside this there were other plot points that happened that were shocking but were merely mentioned, and then not really spoken about again (for example the violent incident with her younger sister Rosie). Therefore, I felt that if these areas had been explored slightly deeper then the book may have been slightly more gripping, especially as some elements of the book were quite boring. I didn’t need to read so may pages about a room being soundproofed…
It felt like this book covered some very important topics, grief in many forms and seeing a family trying to cope with a loss that they all feel guilty for. However, I feel that there were some topics and themes that were mentioned, but not really explored. For example, incidents occurring in Dean’s past.
I didn’t really feel a connection to any of the characters, and I feel that a book that has such an emotional undertone needs you to connect to the characters in order to enjoy it. I did however like that the love interest was slow burning and that he wasn’t put in there simply to ‘save’ the main character. There were also lots of 80’s music references and Carrie is also very interested in Astronomy which added a unique element (especially if you are a fan of either of these things!)
At the end, I hadn’t disliked this book and I hadn’t fallen completely in love with it. Instead I’d just finished it, enjoyed parts of it, but at the end of the day just thought it was okay.