Arcadia’s Gift

First Lines: It felt like ripping…ripping through me, ripping from me.  A deafening roar reverberated all around as I lay flat on my back, drowning the shrieks and screams echoing on the river valley walls.  My eyes were wide open, unblinking, but all I could see were abstract forms in shades of black, gray and red.

I was offered an ebook copy of this book from the author.  I’m at that point in the semester (re: the beginning of it) where I still have plenty of free time, enough of it that I can still finish books quickly and timely.  And this one was short (like, 175 pages), so I breezed through it.

For Arcadia, or as she’s better known, Cady, life is starting to unravel around her.  Cady wakes up in the hospital, unable to remember how she ended up there in the first place, caused by something doctors refer to as a “psychic episode.”  Her twin sister died in the accident.  Her parents’ marriage is crumbling.  Her sister’s boyfriend can barely bring himself to look at Cady.  Nothing is as she wants it to be.  The only time she feels normal anymore is when she spends time with Bryan Sullivan, the new kid at school.  When he’s around, she doesn’t feel like she’s losing it, nor does she experience wild mood swings.  Soon, Cady begins to suspect her first psychic episode won’t be the last…

I liked this book.  There’s a lot of heartache early on, with the separation of her parents and the death of her twin, but it also gives Cady somewhere to grow.  As the older sister to a set of twins, I can understand some of the things Cady complains about, like people only seeing you as half of a whole.  Twins are judged by the other one’s weaknesses.

Anyway, I thought the heartache early on allowed for us to see a growth in Cady’s character as she struggled with her identity as an individual, the death of her sister, and the other family issues that abounded.  Bryan was incredibly helpful in that respect.  He seemed pretty sweet.  And he was very instrumental in showing Cady that sometimes, overcoming grief just means taking one more step today than you did yesterday.  I liked that message.

On the flip side, some parts seemed a little too contrived.  There’s a “happy coincidence” with the neighbor that I won’t spoil, which seemed too easy.  And there’s a misunderstanding that could have easily been cleared up if Cady had just listened to the person for 10 seconds, but took up a chapter as she dwelled on the issue.

Overall, it’s a fast read.  It covers great topics of loss and how to move on from that.

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