This is my third Brigid Kemmerer book, and I think it might be favorite of hers EVER so far.
This ticked soooo many boxes for me.
What jumps out from page one is voice. Definitely. It is so insanely hard to keep dual 1st POV straight, but here? You’re instantly sucked into the story and feel like you fully know Maegan and Rob, inside and out, by the time you finish their first chapters. Their voices are so distinct (from each other), and so unique (on the macro scale of YA and beyond). It makes for an intimate, almost customized read because you KNOW the MCs. It also ups the stakes like crazy, because of the insta-love between reader and MC that drives us to care so deeply even before our reading progress hits 25% of the book. The decision to have the writing so attuned to voice and each MC’s idiosyncrasies is just so freakishly smart.
This definitely struck a dark note that we don’t get to see often in YA and elsewhere. I’m a firm believer that contemporary darkness is always so much scarier than fantasy darkness (though I love the latter to death, don’t get me wrong) because of the former’s proximity to the reader, it’s visceral, too-close PLAUSIBILITY. And BK knows this, and I really don’t want to say anything more without giving away too much.
The parallels to Robin Hood are genius-ly amazing. It’s such a loose retelling (is retelling even the right word?) that the parallels feel almost organic to CIWYW itself. It’s just so .. seamless.
There’s so much more I can gush about. Maegan and Rob’s dynamics? The fully-fleshed out minor characters? The easy, natural dialogue? The clever restraint in the precise, piercing, quick and efficient writing style? Or the ending. Yeah, I’ll talk a little about the ending.
I legitimately did not see it coming. And I’m usually pretty good at that sort of thing. Just .. buckle up. You’ll see what I’m talking about.
We’ve been blessed with not one but TWO Kemmerer books this year yet I selfishly want another one because dude. They’re flawless.
Huge thank you to Bloomsbury for sending me an ARC.