This book isn’t like anything I’ve ever read before! Completely unique in its mix of fairytale atmosphere with lake monsters and the very raw and painful reality with a dead mother, a father with eating disorders, a predator on/off boyfriend, a friend who is abused by his step dad and the struggle for Callie to figure out her own sexuality and feelings for her best friend. Beautiful and poignant, desperate and hopeful, and awkward and sweet at the same time.
The story follows teenager Callie Catwell, whose life certainly is not a walk in the park. After the death of her mother, she’s living in a trailer park with her father, who is struggling with anorexia and panic attacks. Her best friend and neighbor, Rafael, is living with an abusive and homophobic step father and Callie herself is in an on/off toxic relationship with her ex-boyfriend Joseph. In addition to all that, she’s struggling with her own sexuality and the growing romantic feelings for her best girl friend Mei. When she sees a lake monster one morning, it brings Callie some magic for the first time in her life, and a way to forget all difficulties in her life.
Callie was such a unique and amazing main character! It took me a little while to fully root for her and the way she told the story. The writing style and the language was very special, in the way Callie reflected upon the world and in the way she thought and dissected and worried about just about all and everything. But once I got into it, I absolutely loved the narration and Callie herself! She was so caring and empathetic of others, yet with so little self-esteem herself. She took on so many emotional responsibilities, especially for her father, and put everyone else’s needs first. It was so frustrating how she let her ex Joseph treat her, and how she self-destructively she kept seeking him out, when she knew that he was nothing but trouble. But eventually, and with the help of her friends (and the lake monster in a way), she started an amazing growth journey to explore her sexuality and find the courage to be true to herself.
The monster didn’t play as big a part in the story as I’d first thought, but it did add a wonderful magical touch and worked as a guiding light to Callie in her struggles to stand up for herself and find hope and courage in her difficulties.
All in all, this was a unique, raw, honest and beautiful coming-of-age story, with great representation and a touch of magic to light up a very harsh and painful reality. It was a powerful and gripping tale exploring eating disorders, abuse and victim blaming, that was heartbreaking at times, but most of all empowering and heartwarming. I sincerely enjoyed it, and know that I will keep think about it and Callie and her friends for a long time.
Thank you to Pride Book Tours and GenZ Publishing for the blog tour invitation for this wonderful book! All opinions are my own and I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed Aislinn Brophy AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alex Beltran Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton Amanda Ferreira A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Ashlyn Kane Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.F. White C.G. Drews Charli Meadows Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elisa A. Bonnin Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson James L. Sutter Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jen Bailey Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign Joelle Lynne John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Magdalena Di Sotru Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot Morgan James M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Renée Dahlia Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Saxon James Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophia Soames Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tal Bauer Tamara Girardi Teagan Hunter Terry J. Benton-Walker Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Tracy Deonn Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Wesley Chu Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez