Rating: 4 stars
Living back at home and spending most of her time behind a checkout till, it’s fair to say things aren’t going quite as Zoe had planned. But she’s determined to live every day to the full, and she’s spreading her mission of happiness, one inspirational quote at a time.
Since his dad died, Tristan has been struggling with a sadness that threatens to overtake everything. He can’t face seeing his friends, can’t stop fighting with his brother, and as much as he pretends to be better, the truth is he can’t even remember what ‘normal’ feels like.
One person can change everything.
When these two meet, Zoe becomes determined to bring the missing colour back into Tristan’s life. But the harder she tries to change the way Tristan sees the world, the more she realises it’s something she can’t fix – and in trying to put him back together, a part of her is beginning to break . . .
UK: 15th November 2018
I really enjoyed this book, it was fun and quick to read but did also get into some interesting issues. This was the exact sort of book I needed at this time, something that was easy to get into and kept me captivated throughout! It wasn’t a perfect book but it definitely did its job of being a charming contemporary read that really explored the characters and their situations.
There were two main characters in this, Zoe and Tristan (or Tree as he was called), and they were very interesting characters with a lot of secrets to be uncovered throughout the book. My only complaint with these characters is they were a little stereotypical of a YA contemporary! I think having diversity in books is absolutely fantastic but it does sometimes feel like that in a YA contemporary every character must have a “unique” trait that makes them who they are, and it can sometimes feel a little forced. Zoe was a super upbeat and quirky character, but it was very clear, at least to me, that there was something else going on with her that we weren’t seeing at the beginning! I had a few suspicions as to what and I was definitely wrong, but even still it was a little predictable when some flaw was suddenly revealed about her.
Similarly, Tristan was a really interesting character and had a lot going on with him that was fascinating to learn about. However, he was kind of the typical YA male protagonist who is damaged and dark and moody and then learns to love life again when he meets a quirky girl! I don’t mind this, it isn’t a trope that frustrates me too much (although any trope that involves “fixing” someone is a little problematic), and actually reading something that feels so familiar was quite comforting. However it did slightly lessen my enjoyment of the book as I tend to prefer reading original and really fresh stories, which this wasn’t quite!
With regard to plot, this was fun and interesting but again a little bit stereotypical and predictable! It was great to see how the relationship formed and evolved between Zoe and Tristan throughout the book, especially how Zoe had to take all the initiative initially and how that dynamic changed later on. In general a lot of interesting aspects were covered, specifically with regard to Tristan’s relationship with his family and also just the way he thought about things. However, at the end especially it got so stereotypical! ***HUGE SPOILER WARNING*** So I mentioned earlier that there was something going on with Zoe but we didn’t find out what, well at the end she all of a sudden passes out and then the next thing we see in the book is that she has died… Now I totally think that characters can die in books, of course they can, that is realistic, but this felt so much like so many YA books, killing of one of the protagonists just for dramatic effect. And of course, then Tristan goes to their “special place” and considers killing himself… Until this point a lot of the book had held up really well but this sort of ruined it for me a little bit which is a real shame! I don’t mind too much as it was still quite interesting to read about but it was definitely completely unnecessary in this story! ***END OF SPOILER***
With regard to the writing in this book, it wasn’t spectacular but it told the story effectively and kept me intrigued all the way through. I did really like the structure, the dual perspective was really effective for this story as so much of the story was based on how these two people experience the world and connections very differently. I feel like having Tristan’s perspective was especially important in conveying this story, as his anxiety and way of thinking give so much context to how he acts, and that context would have been lost had the book solely been from Zoe’s point of view.
So overall, if you are looking for an interesting YA contemporary that deals with mental health and some other issues then I would definitely recommend this, but just go into it being prepared for a little bit of a predictable plot and ending, not that that is a bad thing!
– Maddie Browse