Blurb (from Goodreads):
A resonant debut novel about retreating from the world after losing everything—and the connections that force you to rejoin it.
Since the night of the crash, Wren Wells has been running away. Though she lived through the accident that killed her boyfriend Patrick, the girl she used to be didn’t survive. Instead of heading off to college as planned, Wren retreats to her father’s studio in the far-north woods of Maine. Somewhere she can be alone.
Then she meets Cal Owen. Dealing with his own troubles, Cal’s hiding out too. When the chemistry between them threatens to pull Wren from her hard-won isolation, Wren has to choose: risk opening her broken heart to the world again, or join the ghosts who haunt her.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
(Source: I borrowed a copy of this book.)
18-year-old Wren (formerly Mamie) is having a rough time of it. She was in a car accident with her boyfriend Patrick, in which he died, but she didn’t. She wasn’t driving, but she still blames herself for the accident.
Changing her name to Wren (something her dad always called her as a nick-name), she moves in with her dad in an isolated house overlooking the sea, and spends her days in solitude, running or sleeping, or simply watching her life go by. Her mother phones 3 times a day, but she doesn’t always answer, and she wants nothing more than to be simply left alone.
One morning whilst on her bike rather than running, she is almost mowed down by a car, and the car’s driver – Cal, gives her a lift back to her father’s house. It seems that no one wants to leave her alone though, and Cal tries to strike up a friendship with her, which she finds incredibly difficult at first.
Eventually, Cal and Wren’s relationship blossoms, and he feels like the only fresh air she can breathe, but while she continues to make poor decisions, her life isn’t her own, and everyone else will continue to invade her privacy.
Can Wren find the light at the end of the tunnel? Is Cal the answer for her? And will her life ever go back to ‘normal’?
This book was such a real life example of what depression is like, how it sucks you down and holds you fast, how you want nothing more than to curl up and die, or to simply disappear altogether. Wren is severely depressed during this story whether she admits that that is what is happening to her or not. She takes sleeping pills to get the world to shut up for a while, she ignores her phone ringing because she doesn’t want to talk to anybody, and she constantly goes out running to escape from what is going on in her head.
Wren’s relationships with her family and friends are strained, mainly because there is nothing coming from Wren, no input from her side of the relationship. Wren is like a big black hole that just sucks all the love offered her inside and makes no impression. She’s just incapable of behaving normally due to how emotionally numb she feels, and she’s incapable of getting her life back on track when she feels this way.
This book was beautifully written, and just sucked me in right from the start. I really felt for Wren and empathised with her and the awful way she felt, whilst at the same time struggling to see a way out for her.
When I looked back at the storyline, at times it seemed that there wasn’t much happening, but I think the point was to just feel how Wren was feeling, and to understand things from her point of view.
The other characters in the book were all important, but to Wren just seemed to nag at her, as they tried to pull her out of her pit of despair.
The most annoying character for me was the psychiatrist that Wren’s mother convinced her to see, who came out with the annoying psychiatrist lines of ‘how did that make you feel?’ and ‘what did you hope to gain by doing that?’, and then asked if a certain thing that Wren did (can’t say what to avoid spoilers) was done on purpose because her mother and her hadn’t agreed on which college she should go to?! I really hated him in that moment – what a divot! I can’t say that I really liked Wren’s ex-best-friend either, who just didn’t have the capability to deal with what Wren was going through.
I wasn’t 100% sure about the ending to this book, mainly because it seemed to come upon me very suddenly, and I felt there was still ground to be covered. The ending did give the vague impression that maybe Wren might find a way to think more positively, but just didn’t give me the closure I needed which was a shame.
Overall; a realistic book about despair and depression, but the ending lacked something for me.
8 out of 10.