Georgia’s brother Lucky is dead on the first page. The first chapter shows anger and raw emotion as she and her parents process Lucky’s death. As an adventurous, outdoorsy, responsible college student the death, drowning during a surfing accident off the coast of Australia, seems like an uncharacteristic end to such a charismatic and strong man.
Prinz covers the topic well, not just for dramatic entertainment, but for the gut wrenching descriptions of a mother’s animal-like wail to the stages of grief and how quickly Georgia can curse at her brother for dying, then tell him she loves him in the next breath.
- doubt, sadness, and disbelief are the main emotions, but in the end Georgia feels lucky to still be alive and (a note to myself since my next article for The Hub is about loss, grief, and bibliotherapy in YA fiction.)
This story is more than a story of grief and healing. It takes on a mystery surrounding Lucky’s death, one that resembles The Talented Mr. Ripley while Georgia suspects the new stranger, Fin, is not the mourning best friend who her family takes in. As she questions his true nature, her family begins to wonder if Georgia’s grief has taken on a hallucinating state of denial. The mystery laid out (enjoyably so) for the reader is whether Georgia isn’t fooled by Fin as the rest of the small town or whether her own mental state (specifically schizophrenia) is what is fooling her.
As Georgia’s suspicions grow (or is it the case of her mental illness worsening?) she gathers clues against Fin and sees (hallucinates) Lucky, who is trying to warn her. Is Georgia the only one who sees the truth or is she the only one falling into a state mixed of grief and paranoia? When does one allow the true loss to be felt in order to try and grieve and heal instead of trying to find a piece to hold onto of the person you miss the most? Grief and healing is different for every person, but throw in the mix a mental disease and skipping medication— well this gave quite the climactic mystery.