I AM A MESS OF EMOTIONS RIGHT NOW.
I love this one so, so much. The concept. The plot. The heartrending scenes, the emotional scenes, the pure adrenaline scenes. And especially Emma and Rev.
The lead characters are marvelous, marvelous, marvelous. Both are so easy to relate to. Emma is an quiet, an introvert, prefers computer screens to people (YAS GIRL) and is a brilliant coder. I mean, she made her own video game and still thinks she could do even better? That’s amazing, I tell you. She is dealing with a ton of family issues, namely having a very distant and detached relationship with her parents, so she definitely needs someone to talk to.
Enter Rev. Look, I will never get tired of reading about antisocial boys with high walls built around them. NEVER. But Rev was so much more than that. He has his own secrets and past and ways of dealing with what happened with him, and seeing him slowly open up to Emma was both gradual and believable.
Their dynamics were on point. They each need the other to help them deal with their own issues, so it was so much more than just falling for a pretty face (something I critique endlessly on, but thankfully, this wasn’t the case here at all). Emma and Rev’s discussions, at first, were a matter of taking comfort in opening up to a stranger, only to realize that that stranger could also be considered a friend because they deal with similar issues. AND I LOVE THIS TROPE SO MUCH. Rev and Emma worked well, I believe, both as friends and as a couple.
Brigid Kemmerer’s writing is perfect. No, really, it is, and I don’t say that very often. It’s balanced and it’s careful and, in a word: precise. Reading an author’s work for the first time* requires some pages to get used to the writing style, but here? I was hooked and immersed in the story and the characters since page one. And I absolutely love the way Kemmerer writes dialogue, in particular.
* no, I haven’t read LETTERS TO THE LOST. Please don’t boo and throw tomatoes at me. But seriously, LTTL sounds absolutely epic and from what I saw of Declan and Juliet, I’m fully intrigued as to what their story consists of. If you’re wondering, I haven’t picked up LTTL because I couldnt keep it straight from Ava Dellaira’s LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD, so. Yeah. Goodreads search bar also doesn’t help you find books if you typo even ONE LETTER. Therefore, I am lost and confused. BUT ANYWAYS. I absolutely love Declan’s friendship with Rev and am totally on board as to what his own story will be.
All the other relationships were so, so interesting to see. In addition to Declan and Rev’s aforementioned awesome friendship (I seriously love how supportive Declan was, and how he knew his friend and his tendencies), I particularly loved seeing Rev’s relationship with his adoptive parents, Geoff and Kristin. They had their fights and their agreements and the differences. The scenes with them (especially the ones with Geoff) were among my favorites.
Also notable is Matthew, the foster kid living with the Fletchers for a while. He was guarded and he had his secrets, and I was a bit sad to see that we didn’t get to spend much time with him as much as I’d hoped we would.
I seriously love everything about this novel, in case I hadn’t made it pretty clear. The characters. The relationships. The writing. And, most notable of all, the large bucket of FEELS that was cruelly upended over my head. I LOVE IT.
Now all I have to do is find me a copy of LETTERS TO THE LOST, because I need more of Brigid Kemmerer’s words in my life.
Thank you, Bloomsbury, for the ARC!