Jake was a daredevil and always tempted fate with his crazy stunts. He did urban exploring, going into abandoned places and coming up with the most dangerous thing to try, climbing elevator shafts, climbing old roller coasters, climbing up on roofs. Unfortunately on the day Jake graduated from high school he was drinking and someone dared him to back flip off the playground equipment at which time he fell and snapped his neck.
Five years after Jake’s death his presence is still felt by those that he left behind, especially by his younger sister Jaycee who has just graduated herself. Jaycee has never figured out how to deal with the loss of her big brother. She wears her brother’s old clothes, she sleeps in his old bed and still somewhat idolizes her big brother trying to imitate his stunts and make herself still feel him in her life.
On the fifth anniversary of Jake’s death, Jaycee finds herself forming friendships with an odd group that has also been touched by Jake in their own way. There’s Natalie who used to be Jaycee’s best friend growing up, her boyfriend Zach, his best friend Bishop and Mik who had been Jake’s best friend during their childhood.
In the summer after high school and just before starting college where most teenagers need to start thinking of growing up and figuring out who they are this group of five bonds together. They tackle several adventures that their old friend had done exploring several of the abandoned places Jake had been. During this time they come to grips with who they are themselves, secrets are shared, painful memories are dealt with, they come to terms with their past and their futures.
A touching, emotional, sometimes heartbreaking and sometimes heartwarming journey of these five friends all told from their own individual “voices”. The perspective changes during the story to each of the five to tell their own view while the events are happening. The author was extremely creative and unique doing this as Bishops chapters are through his art, Mik’s chapters are through a comic book style artwork as he has social anxiety and rarely talks but even with this done I still fell I got to know them both just as much as the other characters.
I absolutely loved the characters and watching them all grow during this transitional summer. They are all kids trying to grow up and that showed in the writing. Did everything they do make sense?No, not really, but when dealing with grief and loss there’s no rule book and that really showed in the characters and their actions.
There’s heartache, loss, grief, fear, violence, fractured families, fractured friendship, young love and anything that one could think of mixed into this book. One that I’d recommend checking out, full of emotion to touch a reader.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.