I thought that I would love this book more than I actually did. I do this sometimes with books that intensely issue driven. I am attracted to them, collects them on my TBR pile, but don't always enjoy then the way I think that I will. There is nothing wrong with this book. The writing is strong, and emotions are raw. Maybe that is it. The book focuses on emotion almost exclusively. It makes sense that it would. Charlie is an intensely emotional person in an intensely emotional situation. The writing is so insanely internalized that sometimes it is difficult to know what is going on. You know, there is a conversation happening, but you only get every third sentence or so because the main character is distracted by the other characters facial hair or by a hole in their jeans. It is great for creating a mood but not so great for plot or for anyone other than the main character to have a character arc.
This isn't a fast-paced book. Like at all. It is 400 pages long, and it feels it. I liked it as I was reading it but I wasn't compelled to go back to reading it every moment. The themes are heavy, and it certainly isn't a fluffy read. There is no optimism or hope in this story, and that can make it feel a bit oppressive to read. Charlie has an insane amount of terrible things going on in her life and in her head. If you are at all sensitive to abuse and self-harm themes, this isn't the book for you.
It is difficult to like most of the characters in this book. Charlie's emotions are so raw, and her decision-making process is so flawed that it's hard to relate to her. I was pulling for her for sure but more in the line of chanting, "get help, get help, get help" under my breath the entire time that I was reading. Her friend Blue is the same. The character in this book are very realistic, but that also means that many of them remain mysterious to Charlie or aren't shown in a flattering light.
One of the things about this book that made me enraged while reading this book was the "love interest." He is goddamn 28 years old. NO. NOOOO. Really. No. I do not care how sympathetic his character is portrayed. It isn't as if the fact that Charlie has issues is hidden. Nor is the fact that she is 17. THERE IS NO EXCUSE. Also, he is a terrible boyfriend on top of everything. I will find you and punch you repeatedly. Let me take a moment to scream into the void.
This isn't an easy or quick read, but it is well written. If you are interested in mental illness, gritty realism, or an intense and emotional story, then this might be the book for you.
Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.
Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.