I've been meaning to read this book for a while, since I saw someone I follow on Twitter saying how great it was and I'm so glad that I did. The minute you start reading, you're immediately drawn into the story and want to keep reading more and more than you'd originally intended - I certainly stayed up reading later into the night than I usually do, simply because I just didn't want to leave without knowing what came next. The short chapters, which often switch between characters, makes you feel as though the story is moving along at a cracking pace which makes you just want to stay with it.
I loved the characters, they're all really well created, with believable flaws and personalities that make you care about them and what happens to each of them. Right from the beginning these carefully crafted people feel very real. Although I started having suspicions about characters or drawing conclusions of my own, I was often very wrong, such is the skill of the author in storytelling. There wasn't a single character that I didn't care about, in one way or another. By turn I wanted to protect, comfort, accuse, support and scream at them, such is the way they are drawn.
The language used is just perfect, I think. The conversations and situations are excellent, they're messy, unfinished, with language that people really use, which I think is such a skill - often flowery language gets in the way of a story because it just feels odd. But here, from the language used by the older generations right down to the teenager text messages, it just felt right. As did the behaviour of people and the various ways in which they responded to grief.
All of the strands of the story from each of the characters draw together really well in the end and although a novel about the death of a young woman cannot be a happy book, I finished it with a sense of optimism, despite my tears! I also had that feeling of loss that I have when finishing a great book, as though the end has left a hole in my life.
Quite simply, this is a really, really good book. Very much looking forward to reading more from Amanda Jennings.