Adapted from: GoodReads
This is a beautiful story about friendship. About how the little adventures, rebellious acts, quiet conversations, karaoke sessions, all the minutes spent together add up to form a meaningful relationship. Kody Keplinger delivers a dual-perspective narrative with voices as fresh as her story.
This story take off in media res, Bo and Agnes meet in the middle of the night and make their getaway – but why? Keplinger makes good use of an alternating two-person narrative that also is divided chronologically; simultaneously, Agnes tells the story of how the situation came to be, and Bo narrates what happens from when they enter the car onward. Both narrative strands are interesting, and the way they work together makes for an interesting unfolding of the story - Cool!
In this way, the plot was made even more surprising as we only heard one side of the story in the past and one in the present. There were definitely a few unexpected plot turns which I very much enjoyed!
In addition to the distinct narrative voices, Bo and Agnes are representative of some good character diversity. Bo is small but mighty, a “no-good”, fiery-tempered redhead with negligent parents and who is exploring her bisexuality, while Agnes is curvy, beautiful but inexperienced, legally blind, and smothered by overprotective parents. Bo and Agnes have very different personalities, perhaps partly as a result of their upbringings. But, ultimately, their seemingly clashing personalities create the opportunity for them to develop their more hidden selves – Agnes’s self-confidence and Bo’s vulnerability. Their differences allow them to grow and cause them to push each other to new heights. It’s truly beautiful to see how their friendship changes throughout the novel.
In my Opinion
There are so many things I loved about this novel – evidenced by the fact that I started and finished it in all of two days. I found the characters felt very alive; Keplinger creates very distinctive voices and points of view from which to tell her tale. She also speaks to the challenge of lending her own experience of blindness to the character of Agnes, she mentioned how difficult it can be to open up about a disability; as a reader I’m always glad to see diverse representation in YA Lit - all the more when it is via own voices!
I thoroughly enjoyed watching the synchronized growth of the friendship via Agnes SPOILERS: and its slow deterioration via Bo – as she tries to save herself from re-entering the foster care system. Bo generally has Agnes’ best interest at heart, but bringing her along to find her dad and dishonestly fueling Agnes’ dream of living together outside of Mursey seemed like a sincere act of desperation, it sort of broke my heart. On that note, what warmed my heart was SPOILER: the Colt-Agnes thing! It was well-crafted and very cute!
I finished this book and at first I was saddened by the ending, SPOILER: with Bo and Agnes separated and finding their friendship more or less over. But then I began to appreciate it for what it was, truthful. Some very important friendships don’t last forever, they grow and fade and that’s okay; they play an important part in the development of the friends involved. and that’s beautiful.
Can you relate to the incredible friendship Bo and Agnes share? Are you and that friend still in touch at all? Have you had great friendships that have grown and faded – was it easy to come to terms with it? Because I think SPOILER: Bo and Agnes take their split very maturely for being so young! Feel free to share your experience in the comments!