November 09, 2008

A Story About What We Wish We Knew Then

Family happens in ways that have nothing to do with what we're born into. We think it's supposed to be mom and dad and brother and sister and house and car and high school and summer camp and college and career. I think that isn't how it is anymore. I think mom and dad and brother and sister is the exception and not the rule. And sometimes the priest at the soup kitchen or the neighbor fills a role that is just as important as blood.
Family isn't what I thought it was at all.

Noelle and Nadio are twins, and they are very different people. Noelle's just wandering through the world, watching it go by, but Nadio is a disciplined, dedicated student, a 4.0, a little quiet, a runner, good looking, but doesn't really know it. Born on the same day, and very, very different, but it's never mattered before.

Noelle's best friend Keely has been a part of their world, kind of a loose link in the chain that forms their family. But when Keely's wealthy family sends her to Oxford for the summer, Noelle feels left behind in more ways than one. Suddenly, Keely has everything -- the big house, the good grades, the purposeful, shiny life. Free-falling, spiraling alone through the universe, Noelle feels disconnected from everyone and everything -- even Nadio. She tries to grab hold of something in the world, something that defines her. She finds Jessica, with her drinks and drugs, and Parker, with his mysterious silences and tattoos. Instead of finding herself and the love of her life, Noelle finds out she's still looking.

Meanwhile, Nadio and Keely have found something -- each other.

And Noelle is more lost than ever.

For anyone who has gone through a difficult transition in a friendship, this is a very hard book to read -- it's like living through it all over again. Growing past someone, growing apart from someone who once practically lived in your skin is immensely tough, and not every friendship survives it.

Told from the point of view of first Noelle, then Nadio, this is the story of a year of secrets and half-truths, which ate at a friendship, and what it took to pick up the pieces. There are some profound, deep insights here, and though the story moves at a good pace, the thoughtful tone and the reflective statements will resonate with readers, and make them pause and read them again.

Quotes and comments herein are based on an uncorrected proof.
Buy This is What I Want to Tell You from an independent bookstore near you in March, 2009!


a. fortis said...

Sounds really intense, but good!

Laini Taylor said...

This sounds great! And I was glad to see your Ratha review down below -- is that one of the ones written back in the 90s? We have her newest Ratha book on our Cybils list; I haven't read it yet but one of the other panelists has really liked it.

(Also, that artist is cool.)

[P.S. my word verification word below is "flest" -- that sounds kind of gross and kind of cool. I think I'll write it down for a potential character name :-)]

tanita s. davis said...

I think it's less a name, and more something someone could to someone. Hmm. Flest.