Saturday, July 8, 2017

BBReview: "A Void the Size of the World" by Rachele Alpine

A Void the Size of the World 
by Rachele Alpine
Release Date: June 20th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery 
Publisher: Simon Pulse

A haunting novel about a girl who must face the consequences after her actions indirectly lead to her sister’s disappearance.

Rhylee didn’t mean to kiss her sister’s boyfriend. At least, not the first time. But it doesn’t matter, because her sister, Abby, caught them together, ran into the dark woods behind their house…and never came home.

As evidence mounts that something terrible has happened to Abby, no one wants to face the truth. Rhylee can’t bring herself to admit what she’s done: that she is the reason her sister ran away. Now Tommy, Abby’s boyfriend, is the prime suspect in her disappearance, and Rhylee’s world has been turned upside down. Slowly, Rhylee’s family is breaking—their lives center on the hope that Abby will return. Rhylee knows they need to face the truth and begin healing—but how can they, when moving on feels like a betrayal? And how do you face the guilt of wishing a person gone…when they actually disappear?


This review is kind of a doozy for me. This book definitely had me hooked with the whole mystery element of it, but there were also things I didn't like and kind of felt disappointed in the end. At the same time, I understand why the author wrote it that way and can appreciate the authenticity. Let's just dive in.

Okay, so like I say before this story had me hooked. Rhylee makes the biggest mistake by kissing her sisters boyfriend and getting caught. Granted, Tommy was Rhylee's best friend before he got with her sister Abby, but still not cool, girl! Her sister Abby is the one who catches them and runs into the woods, never to be seen again. Now, Rhylee is dealing with the guilt that this is all her fault and still can't tell anyone the truth for why her sister went missing in the first place, even though it means Tommy is now being looked at as a suspect.

See what I mean? Who wouldn't want to keep reading that? To be honest I was happy with the story until we got to the ending. All of the characters were very well thought out and actually felt like real people, instead of just characters in a book. I know this seems like a "Duh! Of course they felt like real people. That's what makes a great author!", but hey maybe you've never read any books with bad character development like I have. So, yes, it is definitely worth mentioning that these characters felt like real humans you could meet in the real world. I really liked Rhylee, our main character. She was relatable, but there were some things she did that I didn't agree with. She didn't come forward with the truth, which I get, but still not ok. She also did some things that (to me) were odd. Like she was trying to become Abby, but at the same time people grieve in different ways and that is what I came to understand and learn from this book. She wasn't trying to replace her, she was trying to be closer.

I really feel like my favorite character was probably Rhylee's little brother. His character was so well done. Usually other family members are kind of afterthoughts in stories, because you only see tidbits of them, but her brother made a pretty big appearance in the story for being a side character. He really felt authentic to his age and I related to him the most. I loved that he had that authentic childlike wonder and imagination. He was totally aware, yet oblivious at the same time, because of how young he is. I just absolutely loved him and thought his character was excellently drawn out.

Like I said the characters and mystery of trying to find Abby kept me reading. Like Rhylee, I wanted to find Abby. Was she really gone, or were the sighting people kept having of her real? I wanted to know. In the end, we don't know for sure what happened to Abby. Like Rhylee, her parents, and the officers, we have a pretty good idea of what probably happened, but her family will never know the full story. To be honest, this kind of pissed me off. Here you are dragging me through this crazy story filled with dreams, nightmares, sightings, aliens, and basically conspiracy theories, to try and find the truth, but in the end I don't get it? Ugh!! I was so frustrated, but then I kind of appreciated it. In real life, when things like this happen, the family usually never finds out the full story. They either just deal with the fact that they are missing and aren't home, or they accept the most plausible story.

This story felt so real and honest, and I realized that the author couldn't give us a nice, tiddy, bow-wrapped ending with all the fact and answers to our questions, because that doesn't happen in real life! Sometimes, you just never know what happened. Once I realized this, my whole outlook of the story changed. I truly understood was Rhylee and her family were going through in the end, because they will never know what exactly happened.

I had some mixed feelings about this story. The very well developed characters and mystery of the story kept me reading. I wanted to know what happened to Abby. Was she really gone? Did someone kill her? Was it an accident? Is she still alive and just exacting revenge on her sister? I needed to know! But then the ending happened and I learned nothing. I was mad. I didn't understand how the author could leave me hanging like that, but then I realized her genius. This story is so well written that it feels real. The characters and situation could happen in real life and so she couldn't give me a neaty wrapped ending with all the answers, because that's not what happens in real life. Nicely done, Rachele Alpine!

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥  4/5


About Rachele Alpine:
Rachele Alpine is a lover of binge watching reality TV, dogs, knitting, gummy peaches, and lots and lots of coffee!
One of her first jobs was at a library, but it didn't last long, because all she did was hide in the third-floor stacks and read. Now she's a little more careful about when and where she indulg-es her reading habit.
By day she's a high school English teacher, by night she's a mom and wife, and she writes during any time she can find in between!
Rachele lives with her husband and son in Cleveland, Ohio, but dreams of moving back to Boston, the city she fell in love with while attending graduate school there.


Prize: 1 finished copy of A VOID THE SIZE OF THE WORLD


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