“Seventeen-year-old Avery Anderson is convinced her senior year is ruined when she’s uprooted from her life in DC and forced into the hostile home of her terminally ill grandmother, Mama Letty. The tension between Avery’s mom and Mama Letty makes for a frosty arrival and unearths past drama they refuse to talk about. Every time Avery tries to look deeper, she’s turned away, leaving her desperate to learn the secrets that split her family in two.
While tempers flare in her avoidant family, Avery finds friendship in unexpected places: in Simone Cole, her captivating next-door neighbor, and Jade Oliver, daughter of the town’s most prominent family—whose mother’s murder remains unsolved.
As the three girls grow closer—Avery and Simone’s friendship blossoming into romance—the sharp-edged opinions of their small southern town begin to hint at something insidious underneath. The racist history of Bardell, Georgia is rooted in Avery’s family in ways she can’t even imagine. With Mama Letty’s health dwindling every day, Avery must decide if digging for the truth is worth toppling the delicate relationships she’s built in Bardell—or if some things are better left buried.” -Goodreads.com
Ever since I first saw the cover and title of this book, I couldn’t forget about it! From reading the synopsis I wasn’t immediately hooked but still something kept drawing me back. So when I saw this become available as an audio-book on Netgalley, I jumped at the chance to read it! It’s definitely not what I was expecting but that ended up being a good thing as it hit so much harder than I could’ve imagined.
The narrator did such a good job of evoking the emotion of the characters. With the main character, Avery, especially, there were so many ups and downs. Over the course of the book she tries so hard to do good things for her family and her friends but, because there were so many things she hadn’t been told about her family history and ancestral home, she never seemed to get it right. Her frustration was contagious and the brokenness and grief that had been passed down through three generations of women was so raw.
I was at first upset when Avery’s new friend group was disbanded because I wanted her to be happy and it wasn’t fair that she had to go through this again right after leaving her toxic friends in DC. But what it made me realize was, friendship is messy and this is just the reality of the world which was really sobering.
The ending destroyed me! The last hour or so of the book I listened to while I was out and there were multiple parts where I was afraid I was gonna lose it while walking down the street! I lost a grandparent recently and, going into this book, I knew what to expect from the ending but how are you supposed to prepare yourself for those kind of emotions? The author tackled it so well and that was one part that I unashamedly shed some tears. The way everything came together was beautiful. Imperfect, but beautiful. And isn’t that just the way humans are?
One thing to be aware of going in is that there is a lot of mature content to be found in this one including: same sex relationships, drug use, strong language, death of family members, murder and racial violence. It’s all handled very well by the author but definitely something to be aware of going in.
Overall, this is one that will stay with me for a long time and I’m so thankful to Netgalley for providing me with an advance copy! Happy Reading 🙂