First of all, I did not expect to love this one as much as I did when I first started it. The blurb did grab me at the airport in London, but really I needed something to go with Bill Bryson's At Home for the Buy One Get One 50% Off offer (who could pass that up?) This is the blurb:
Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.
This is not her story.
Unless you count the part where I killed her.
Kinda chilling huh? Sounds like an issues book, or a psychological thriller. It certainly started that way. But I was disappointed as I saw the protagonist, Alison, go from a batshit-crazy-freakout in a psych ward straight to remorseful and soggy. If this girl has killed someone, can't she just own it, for at least a while?
But then the story changes. Enter (silence, please, as I say this in revered tones) Sebastian Faraday.
Now, I'm known for liking a book a hell of a lot more if I have a major crush on some tall drink of water within the pages. This is definitely one of those times. Not that the book isn't wonderful in its own right. It's incredibly wonderful. But Anderson may as well have stopped by for a coffee and said, "Oh, by the way, Rhiannon, what do you fancy in the way of male protagonists this week, hmm?"
I'm 26, but don't go thinking this is some weird cougar thing and I've been captivated by a 16-year-old. Sebastian is my age. Well, maybe a few years younger ... whatever. He's tall. Golden haired, with a voice as beautiful as his well-shaped hands. His voice is mellifluous, dear readers. He's patient and quirky and smart. I melted into puddles of warm butter in my physio's waiting room just reading about him.
But there is more to this book than the man candy! There is also some of the most beautiful, unselfconscious writing I have come across. Alison has synesthesia, a condition in which the senses are crossed-wired. Numbers have colours. Sounds are seen. Names are tasted. I saw a Scott Pilgrim scenario in which Alison's world came alive in impossible ways. Amazing descriptions.
This book isn't without flaws, but I forgave them all before I was even a third of a way through the book. I just couldn't help it. It's gorgeous. If I was still sixteen I'd be swooning around the house for a week.
I think I shall anyway.