Published By: Corvus
Released On: 02/03/2023
The day Scarlett dies should have been one of the most important of her life. It doesn’t feel fair that she’ll never have the chance to fulfil her dreams. And now, she’s still … here – wherever here is – watching the ripple effect of her death on the lives of those she loved the most.
Evie cannot contemplate her life without Scarlett, and she certainly cannot forgive Nate, the man she blames for her best friend’s death. But Nate keeps popping up when she least expects him to, catapulting Evie’s life in directions she’d never let herself imagine possible. Ways, perhaps, even those closest to her had long since given up on.
If you could go back, knowing everything that happens after, everything that happens because of that one moment in time, would you change the course of history or would you do it all again?
**SPOILER ALERT** – I don’t know how I can fully explain what this book means without giving out slight spoilers. But I do hope I’ve still left enough out of the picture. But if you wish to read this book a fresh, then come back to this review later.
Thanks to NetGalley and Corvus for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.
I was really depressed the day I started reading this. Honestly, I was contemplating whether my life was worth going on. But I stopped for a moment, got back into bed, curled up under my very age-appropriate Percy Pig duvet, and started reading this. To say it’s a lifesaver may sound extreme, but I’ve got no other way to give it the credit it deserves.
To see death from the other side is something we have often thought of – or I have – but rarely explored, or not in fiction. But there’s this natural sense to it. It’s obvious. Why haven’t we read this before? We all think about death, and life after death, and whether you still exist after death, and I love that this book is predominately narrated by someone after they’ve died.
The diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in Evie hit me. As I’ve said in previous reviews I’ve written, I’ve spent the last six years in and out or neurologists offices trying to figure out what was wrong with me, and MS was put on the table. Okay, it ended up that it wasn’t that, but it’s still an incurable condition I have. And I just felt every single word she says about her diagnosis. About the not knowing, the worry, the grief for the future. I felt it all deep within me and I think it was marvelously handled.
I like that it explores how grief affects different people. The parents, the friends, the friends’ parents, the colleagues, the strangers. No-one has a monopoly on grief, and by giving us the POV of the deceased character, we get to see the natural progression of grief through these different groups of people. It’s very natural and free flowing and just beautiful.
It’s also an interesting look at blame, and the idea of fate and destiny and accidents. It was a genuine accident. Scarlett was in the wrong place at the wrong time, helping someone in need, and was killed. Nothing was deliberate. The man in need didn’t conspire to be in that place at that moment, the driver didn’t deliberately drive into her to kill her. It’s nobody’s fault. That’s why it’s called an accident. But it gets you thinking about things like fate, and about whether we all have an expiry date on our lives, that no matter what we choose to do, this doesn’t change. I know that sounds a bit morbid, but I find it fascinating. I’m very much a believer in “it’s your time” and spirits and whatnot, so it was interesting to see this explored in a mainstream, traditionally published novel.
It is so desperately sad, but there’s also hope. Amongst all the grief and the sadness and despair, there is hope. There is life. There is a bit of romance, a bit (a load) of drama, laughter, sadness, happiness. It’s all very real and very raw. Which is what life and death can be like. And it’s important that she’s captured the ugly times along with the beauty.
I honestly can’t put into words just how special this book is without sounding corny, but I’m prepared to be corny on this occasion. On the surface, it’s a very well written book, great characters, character development, interesting plot, entertaining etc etc. And I’m not taking away from all of that, it’s great. But for me, there’s a soul to it, something that speaks to me when I read it. It really got to me and held me. I don’t think I’ll ever get over the feeling it had. It felt like MY book. It is possibly one of the most important novels I’ve ever read. I got an early digital copy but I plan to buy myself a physical copy, and copies for my loved ones.