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Review: 'The State We're In' by Adele Parks
on 12 October 2014
The description of ‘The State We’re In’ is quite vague, resulting in readers starting the book without hardly any idea of what will happen to the characters. In times where we often already know the entire plotline of a book before actually reading it ourselves, I thought this was quite a refreshing experience and will therefore try to not give away too many details in my review. The book tells the story of two characters, Jo and Dean, who meet on a flight from London to Chicago. Jo and Dean appear to be each other’s opposite; Jo is a slightly ditzy hopeless romantic, while Dean is an attractive cynical business man who does not believe in love. Jo wants someone to talk to during the long flight to Chicago, while Dean just wants to travel alone and in silence. I’m not going to say much more about the plotline besides that after this flight, both Jo’s and Dean’s life will never be the same again.
A lot of people have said that this is Adele Parks’ best novel, but seeing as I haven’t read any of her other books I can’t really compare it to anything else. It took me a couple of chapters to get into the story, but as soon as I was I wanted to keep on reading and discover what would happen. The story is told from the perspective of four different characters: Jo, Dean, Clara and Eddie, and they’re all well-developed with fascinating and complicated background stories. The book deals with some universal themes: relationships, marriage, family ties, and Adele Parks explores these topics in an intriguing way. Her writing style is intense and detailed and even though this is my first Adele Parks novel, I am convinced she’s an amazing storyteller.
This book is surrounded by a lot of mystery and I think it is pretty amazing that if you look up reviews, everyone seems to respect the decision to keep the ending a secret. The publisher created the Twitter hastag #KeepTheSecret and it seems to have worked. However, all the buzz and excitement regarding this ‘secret’ prepared me for something big, something spectacular. And while the ending did not necessarily disappoint me, I couldn’t help but get a feeling like: Is this really it? Therefore, I recommend people who are thinking of picking up this novel to definitely pick it up, but do not just read it for the secret, read it for the wonderful story that’s inside. ‘The State We’re In’ is an intriguing and emotional love story; my first Adele Parks reading experience and it has definitely made me want to pick up more of her work in the future!