So this book was, up tot the revelation of the magical element, 5+ stars. I just couldn’t, wouldn’t, didn’t want, to stop reading (sadly, one has to stop at times for sleep or for boyfriends), but you get my drift. Then the magical element was added, and my rating dropped to 5 stars. At this point I am still wondering if I should have this book to be 4.5 instead, and you know what, 4.5 stars it is. As that magical element really ruined my enjoyment and the beauty of the book.
I will put this part under spoiler.
Instead of any of the realistic possibilities or any others that I didn’t think of, the author went with a totally weird and unbelievable one. Eternal youth. Sam has drank some sort of potion and has lived for ages, he has tried, back when Helen was younger, to also have her drink it. Since she died due to cancer, I guess you all know what she choose.
Sure, I could have seen the hints (looking back), but again, I just didn’t think we would go for some stupid magical element. Since the whole book was so realistic, so painfully beautiful, so well written, with the anxiety, the panic attacks, grieving, why would I possibly think that there would be something like magic added to the mix.
Phew, now that is out of the way, let’s talk about the rest of the book. The book starts off when Lottie and her family are throwing out the ashes of her aunt (poor dad btw), and then we go back in time to when her aunt just died. When her family was hearing Aunt Helen’s will, and the letters that came with it. The letters which Aunt Helen wrote for Lottie, as she knew that Lottie needed some extra love and care, knew she would be the most affected and the one most likely to collapse. Lottie has anxiety, and we see her go from light panic attacks to full blown panic attacks that feel like heart attacks. We see her cry, we see her world collapse, and we see her think of death (a lot). The letters are definitely helping her a bit more, bringing her closer to her aunt, and also easing the way for her to let her aunt go.
The letters vary from talking about Helen’s life to how her life felt after the diagnosis, she reminiscences about how Lottie and Abe were back when they were younger, but they also contain dares, assignments, little or big things to do for Lottie. Like going out and meeting new people, letting things go, or picking up things or bringing things to people. It seems all very simple but for Lottie it is a big deal, and I loved how the author wrote about Lottie’s reactions to the letters to when she had to do certain things for her aunt.
I have to say that for a while I thought Lottie was way younger than that she actually was. For a bit of the book I thought she was 14, maybe 15, but later on I could see she was definitely not that, it was as if something had shifted and Lottie acted more like her age or older.
I could talk for a lot longer about Lottie, but I will just end this section with that I loved Lottie and she was just fabulous, sweet, real.
Of course there are tons of other characters featured in this book. All of them are mourning the loss of Aunt Helen in their way, but we also see them try to continue with life.
Em was my favourite girl, followed by Lottie’s parents, Aunt Helen (from what we could see of her in the letters she seemed like a wonderful person), Abe, and lastly Sam. I never did quite like Abe and Sam, but if I had to pick who was last, it would be Sam. He was just too perfect, too much there, right in the moment when he was needed, and again what I mentioned in the spoiler, that is what ruined his character further for me.
What more? Oh, yes, could we have a real Alvin Hatter series? Because I adored those excerpts from the books, those little parts that made me fall in love with Alvin and Margo and I wanted to see more of their story, of them, I wanted to read the whole thing, and not just parts of it.
Oh, and it took me up to the moment to realise the cover wasn’t her jumping of a boat. 😛
All in all, 5+ stars for most of the book, and sadly going downwards nearer to the end. sighs I would still recommend it, but if you don’t like a magical element in a serious book, then don’t read this one or drop it at the right moment.