WARNING: DUE TO SUBJECT MATTER SUCH AS SUICIDE IT CAN BE A HEAVY READ
Author: T.B. Markinson
Release date: November 7, 2013
Genre: YA contemporary, LGBT
Buy on: Amazon
Paige Alexander is seventeen and has her whole life in front of her. One day her girlfriend comes home to discover that Paige has slit her wrists. Paige isn't insane, but she acts like she is. Why?
After the incident, Paige agrees to go to therapy to appease her girlfriend, Jess. However, Paige doesn't believe that therapy will help her. She believes she’s beyond help. Paige doesn't want to find herself and she doesn't want to relive her painful past in order to come to terms with it. What Paige wants is control over her life, which she hasn't had since her birth.
During her childhood, Paige is blamed for a family tragedy, when in fact, her twin sister, Abbie was responsible. Abbie doesn't come forward and Paige becomes the pariah of the family.
To add to Paige’s woes, while attending a college in a small town in Colorado, the residents are in the midst of debating whether or not gays and lesbians should have equal rights. Tension is high and there’s a threat of violence. She isn't out of the closet and pretends to be straight at school since she fears what will happen if her parents find out she’s a lesbian. Will she end up dead like her best friend, Alex?
In my eyes, this book had some great potential. The blurb sounded interesting, but did look like too much might be going on. In the end, it did feel like that. It distracted me from the (in my eyes) major storyline: why did she tried to commit suicide? (which sadly didn't get completely answered)
The first page of the book starts quite heavy.
The plan was simple. There were only three steps. Three! And I still fucked up.
Step one: write letter.
Step two: draw bath.
Step three: razor.
I’m not sure how I screwed it all up. What kind of idiot can’t follow three simple steps? Maybe there should have been four steps. The fourth would have included time, would have made sure I had enough time for step three to work. I didn’t allow enough time. To be honest, I didn’t know how long it would take. I still don’t. But I learned that it isn’t instantaneous. A gun would have been instantaneous. Jesus! Why didn’t I think of that first? That’s why men succeed more: they use guns. Pow! Sayonara!
That's quite the opening scene. I do like the main character Paige from the first pages on. I think she differs from quite some main characters I've seen the past years. She's everything but your typical Mary Sue character. She has flaws, quite some of them and I think it really makes her great character. Sometimes it does feel like too much though. She can come across as childish and her motives aren't always so clear, which makes her seem rather dumb and ignorant.
One of the biggest problems Paige deals with is her sexuality. I do think it is a bit unreal that someone who has been in the closet for so long has a long term relationship with a girl, Jess, who is so out, open and proud about her sexuality. For me it is also not completely clear why she is so against showing her sexuality. Her parents are rich and important, yes, but it is never clearly said that's the reason. She actually goes so far as in pretending she's straight by hanging out with sweet, dear, cute Tom (yes, I like his character a lot). I also wondered throughout the book if sexuality was the reason she tried to kill herself, but there are other issues that could have caused her to commit (and are actually a bit more logical).
The relationship with her parents and twin sister is very rocky. She barely speaks with her father and sister and even though she did spend quite some time with her mother (due to the 'Lego incident' which kind of made me laugh in all honesty), they never really got along. I wonder why someone who hates her family so much, she still tries to be the perfect daughter (by for example hiding her sexuality and her suicide attempt) and still take their money to go to college. Maybe that's her nature, I am not sure, but I would honestly say: 'Screw you guys' and just figure it out by myself.
Added to that, she also lost her best friend due to a drugs overdose. Alex was her neighbor and they were great friends. She started using drugs at thirteen and lost her way. She was taken to rehab, overdosed there on wrong drugs and died.
All in all a lot of drama (because surprise: there's even more), which makes the whole story a bit unreal for me (especially towards the end). But it is quite interesting and I did want to know how it ended.