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Every day is a challenge for Camden Pike  because his girlfriend Viv was his entire world, but  it's been two months since his life changed forever. Two months since the accident. Two months of maintaining her shrine. Two months without holding her. 

While visiting the site of the accident one night, Camden notices an eerie green light and a girl on the other side calling his name. He soon learns that the green light is a portal into a parallel world
where Viv is still alive. Determined to have her back, Camden ignores the fact that the Viv he lost in his world isn’t the Viv living in the other one. As the portal begins to shrink, secrets unfold and obsessions turn deadly.
 
Emily Hainsworth’s debut novel is a breath of fresh air. Through her portrayal of a grieving young man, she captures the realistic and complicated internal conflicts that he undergoes while dealing – or not dealing - with his girlfriend’s death. Hainsworth effectively makes Camden a flawed character who must work through multiple issues: his father’s abandonment of the family, his absent workaholic mother, his fall from grace as the football star, and his emotional instability. All of these issues lead to
the guiding theme of this novel, which is “What if?” What if we’d chosen something different?
 
All of us are presented with choices, and based upon those choices, we follow a certain path. Camden is no different. What he discovers in the parallel world is that the same people exist, but their different choices led them to different futures. For instance, instead of giving up on football when his leg was shattered, the other Camden pushed himself to overcome the injury. As a result, even though the “real”Camden’s initial goal for entering the other world was to reunite with Viv, he also realized the
possibilities for what he could accomplish if he refused to give up. He had to realize that he possessed the strength within himself to do great things – without Viv. 

Nina is the girl that Camden meets the first night that the green light appears. Although he doesn’t recognize her, she knows him from her world, and she serves as his guide – a conscience, almost – as he works through his love and loss of Viv, as well as his renewed discovery
of her in the other world. Nina has secrets and she holds the key to Camden’s happiness, but she also wants him to make the discoveries on his own. 
  
The ending of this novel is so bittersweet that I’m STILL thinking about it. There are so many ways that I wanted it to go, but Hainsworth executed it so beautifully that there was only one way that it could end. I love, love, love this book, and I’ll probably reread it in the near future because I didn’t want it to end. 
 
ARC Provided by HarperCollins Children’s Books
Publish Date: October 1, 2012


 
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Briony Larkin has a secret. Stepmother warned her never to tell. Or, she would
surely die. But, she can no longer keep the secret because the Boggy Mun is
plaguing people with the swamp cough, and Rose, her twin sister, is its next victim. Besides, Briony owes Rose her life. She's indebted to Rose for what she did to her. It was her anger that summoned the wind that made Rose fall and hit her head, never becoming "quite right" after that. That's what evil girls do.

Briony Larkin is a witch with the second sight that allows her to see the Old Ones. Briony Larkin is also dangerous. She must keep her emotions under control so that she doesn't hurt others like she did Rose and her Stepmother. But, as Eldric Clayborne - the boyman who seems to see inside her soul - and she grow closer, she's finding it
harder to control her emotions. 

Since this novel was a National Book Award Finalist, I really wanted to like it. In fact, the entire time that I was reading, I kept searching for things that I could gush over. Unfortunately, I didn't find any. The basic premise of this novel was intriguing, but the execution was off. For instance, the storyline was difficult to follow in a lot of places because Briony (the narrator) would go on random
tangents that reminded me of reading a Faulkner novel. The only problem is that the rambling usually had nothing to do with the point that she was trying to make. Instead of being a literary device, this became so distracting and
frustrating that I wanted to stop reading. In addition, for people who aren't familiar with folklore and mysticism, all of the Old Ones and their functions became confusing; it didn't help that most of their functions weren't adequately explained and
differentiated.

I love folklore and mysticism, and I was really  disappointed in this novel. I'm not sure if I'd built it up because of the CHIME/SHINE (Myracle, 2011) debacle, but it was a tedious read. I know that there will be others who love it, who will make me second-guess my judgement, but it's not one that I would recommend to
others.