I actually received this book from my mom’s friend (whom I have known since I was little and therefore still call Pattycake)! Pat is a children’s book author, and she is always making author-y friends (as you do) and somehow she came across this author! Therefore, I have a signed copy addressed to Pat, which is quite neat. 🙂 Anyhoo, I really wasn’t expecting much of anything from this book, but once I looked more into it, I realized that it is actually YA! Of course, this was super exciting, so I brought it along on vacation, and started reading it the very first day. I was able to almost finish it on the car ride, so it probably took me 6-7 hours to finish. And I was quite pleasantly surprised!
The book is told from the points of view of Beth and her twin brother, Teddy. It begins with Beth going to the “cool” party on July 4, the summer after their eighth grade year. When Mindy offers her a drink, she accepts, and all too soon, she’s had three. The alcohol makes her braver, more confident, and less shaky. Soon, vodka becomes more of a necessity than a treat, and the only thing Beth is worried about is where her next shot is coming from. Although Teddy isn’t completely clueless, he has no idea how addicted she’s become. Meanwhile, he’s trying to get a girlfriend, maintain his friendships, train for gymnastics, cope with their dad’s death, and come to terms with his mom’s new relationship status, all on top of keeping Beth safe.
The interesting thing about this book is that although Beth is the person that the story mostly revolves around, the storyline intentionally makes her very hard to like. She’s needy, mean, rude, irritating, and doesn’t really seem to care about anyone except herself and becoming popular. And yet, Teddy loves her and cares for her (even if he gets upset with her at times), because she is his sister. Even more, his twin!
Teddy is made out to be a nice guy. He’s just trying to make his way at high school and get on with his life without having to worry about his mom and sister all the time.
As for their mom, she is kind of a pushover. She obviously cares for and wants the best for her kids, but she doesn’t know how to do that. Since the twins’ dad died, she has been very sad. She relies too much on Teddy and babies Beth far too much, to the point that she is unintentionally hurting both of them.
Annie is Teddy’s best friend/crush as well as Beth’s friend. And probably my favorite character in the book! She always has such a positive attitude and I really appreciate her outlook on life and just who she is as a person! Honestly, if there was a whole book from her perspective, I would read it. I wish more characters were genuinely kind and helpful people like her! I would love to see her take a Hogwarts house test, haha!
I really liked the twin/family dynamic, and honestly just how all of the relationships progress throughout the book. Twins are always super interesting, and their adjustment to their mom moving on in her dating life was a good addition as well.
All of the characters were so well rounded! I really appreciated how they were portrayed and their growth throughout the book. All of the minor characters were pretty fleshed out as well.
Overall, this book had an interesting premise, great characters and growth, and a pretty fantastic style and story! I was definitely invested in the characters by the end, and it was worth the read. I would recommend this one to anyone who’s interested in learning about alcoholism, or if you liked Girl in Pieces! This book gave me the same feeling and it was a similar style of writing. Just, you know, not as intense. 🙂 Anyhoo!
I’d give this book: 3.7/5 Stars!
I did quite enjoy it but I wasn’t all that attached until about 100 pages in, and Beth honestly wasn’t all that interesting to read about most of the time. However, I did enjoy the story as well as the characters, and I felt like I learned something (in a good way)! 3.5 was too low, 4 too high… I went with 3.7. 🙂