Cora Bradley dreams of escape. Ever since her reckless older brother, Nate, died in a car crash, Cora has felt suffocated by her small town and high school. She seeks solace in drawing beautiful maps, envisioning herself in exotic locales. When Cora begins to fall for Damian, the handsome, brooding boy who was in the car with Nate the night he died, she uncovers her brother’s secret artistic life and realizes she had more in common with him than she ever imagined. With stunning lyricism, Sandell weaves a tale of one girl’s journey through the redemptive powers of art, friendship, and love.
This book exceeded my expectations. I found myself enjoying the book way more than I ever thought I would. I felt sympathetic for Cora, the pain of losing someone who is close to you. We see how Nate’s death changes things between Rachel (her BFF) and Cora. Damian’s life also changes because of Nate’s death, he is being alienated by everyone. Cora’s life at home is also different.
There are times where I just wanted to hug Cora and tell her everything will be ok. To me, Cora seems much more mature than a fourteen year old (or is it fifteen?). She has a lot to deal with. As the book progresses, we see a strain between Cora’s relationship with her parents. I found it believable. Generally, I felt that the writing was excellent. Lisa Ann Sandell has brilliant writing skills. I admire her writing. It’s really marvelous.
My only problems was with Damian and Cora’s relationship. It developed too fast for me. I wish there was more pages on their time spent together.
I think if you like Sarah Dessen’s books, you will enjoy this. I think the topics in this book is similar to Dessen’s though I can’t say the writing is the same.
Silver Star (close to Gold star)