Pages: 288 pages
Published: August 20, 2020 (UK), November 17, 2020 (US)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus (UK), Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Poetry
Ana Kelly can deal with death. As an estate lawyer, an unfortunate part of her day-to-day is phone calls from the next of kin informing her that one of her clients has died. But nothing could have prepared Ana for the call from Rebecca Taylor, explaining in a strangely calm tone that her husband Connor was killed in an accident.
Ana had been having an affair with Connor for three years, keeping their love secret in hotel rooms, weekends away, and swiftly deleted text messages. Though consuming, they hide their love well, and nobody knows of their relationship except Mark, Connor’s best friend.
Alone and undone, Ana seeks friendship with the person who she once thought of as her adversary and opposite, but who is now the only one who shares her pain — Rebecca. As Ana becomes closer to her lover’s widow, she is forced to reconcile painful truths about the affair, and the fickleness of love and desire.
Sarah Crossan has done it again with her new novel, taking a brave step into the adult genre. Ana has had a secret affair with Connor, a married client of hers, for three years. When Connor has unexpectedly died in a car accident, Ana has had a difficult time, expressing and accepting her grief, particularly with others. Feeling alone in this tragedy, Ana seeks out a friendship with the one person who Ana considered to be her enemy, Connor’s wife, Rebecca. As this unorthodox friendship progresses, Ana is forced to reveal the painful truths about her affair, her marriage and the decisions she’s made that has led to this point.
Moonrise, Toffee and One are just some of Crossan’s exemplary titles that she wrote in the YA genre. Now, Crossan has decided to take that hesitant step into the adult genre. Some readers can become scared when their favorite author steps out of their comfort zone. But as always, Crossan went with this unique narrative head-on and did what she did best: tell an amazing and engaging story.
Wow…all I can say is “wow”. This is the first adult book I read in verse and when I heard that Sarah Crossan’s next book was going to be told in poetry verses, I didn’t think it could work. But Crossan manages it with her unique writing style and beautiful choice of words that turns this into one breathtaking narrative. Just by reading the synopsis, you wouldn’t think that you would have sympathy for the main character. But with the emotional connection that was oozing from the pages, a reader would have a hard time sympathizing with Ana. It shows that there were deeper reasons why Ana did what she did and you may entirely agree with her actions, the result is that you have empathy for her and judging people beforehand may get in the way of that.
This is more than just an inside look into a woman’s secret life. I loved how it a constant unravelling of a character’s psyche, how her actions not only have repercussions but have a new perspective on her life. With very little details, you can come up with your assumptions and conclusions about Ana and because of that, the reader empathizes with her. Empathy just made the story more relatable and believable.
As I thought about this story more, I started to think that it had feminist ideas. Ana has continuously deal with Connor’s evasion and manipulations for three years and would fall for it every time. Yes, she may have been naive but I believe that this novel shows that Connor is not entirely blameless in the situation. Although this was an extramarital affair, it doesn’t mean Ana should be accepting of the emotional abuse, something that society tends to blame women. It may not have been Crossan’s motive but it was such an interesting observation.
Novels in verse are not something that is just for YA novels and this bold step that Crossan shows that the adult narrative can be just as compelling and engaging as a story written in prose format. Please, please give this one a chance!
Thank you Hachette Publishing for giving me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.