Before the murder, Joe had a twin brother named Alvin. (Or maybe his name was Joe and Joe’s name was Alvin. Joe can’t be sure because Alvin liked to switch their names before their parents disappeared.) Alvin was in love with a girl named Julia. This is about the time that Joe met Julia.
There are two things I like my narrator’s to be: female* and reliable. Joe was neither. This made this book really difficult for me to get through. The narrator is the reader’s lens to the story, and when you have an unreliable narrator it’s like that lens was rubbed against sand paper. Add the narrator to a plot without resolution and you have the ingredients for Meghan’s least favourite kind of book.
That’s not to say that the book isn’t good. It’s definitely well-written. The word “artistic” comes to mind. This is the kind of book you find on the shelves of high school English teachers for their students to do a “pick your own book to do a final project on” thing. There are tons of events and characteristic quirks that the English major can read into and interpret, and maybe if I’d had my “critical thinking” cap on when I read it, I would have enjoyed the experience more.
*I’d like to note that I don’t hate male narrators. I just prefer female narrators because I can connect with them easier. I can connect with male narrators, but I prefer female narrators because I don’t have to try to connect with them.
Books with similar aspects
Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
recommended to those who want to look deeper
not recommended to those looking for a light read for fun