They had a pact.
Leave the world behind much as they had lived it.
No one would miss them. No harm, no foul.
Their personal demons would be left behind once and for all.
It was the only thing they could count on.
It was all she had.
Madison Hanson has spent the last four years being a “shadow.” Her parents ignore her. The students at her school stopped talking to her years ago, and the majority of her teachers forget she’s even there. In her desperate yearning to leave her invisible life behind, Madison makes a pact with her only friend, James Garrison, to end their lives as inconspicuously as they live them. No fuss, no muss. No one would miss her and she would miss no one. Their plan is set, and it’s all she can count on. That is, until fellow student, Mitch Peterson, beats them to the punch. Everything Madison believed in is shaken to the core when she watches the aftermath of Mitch’s death unfold. By taking his own life, Mitch unwittingly saves hers. What a selfish prick.
She is now left with the daunting task of living. Trying to bury her demons once and for all, and finally trusting someone with her fragile existence.
Living is hell.
Death would have been so much easier.
Genre: YA Fiction
Release Date: November 23, 2012
Page Count: 316
Source: My copy.
I ran to my Nook on release day to pick up this novel because I have heard so much about this author and suicide/depression/mental illness is so very close to my heart. Teen suicide is no easy subject to breach, and I was very interested to see King’s take on it.
It started out with this very unlikable character, Madison. But that was the point, really. She was a very angry person who just wanted to die. I would have liked more background on her’s and James’ pact, like how they came to the decision and more of their friendship pre-pact, but it was okay. For me, her inner monologue was too obvious – the author seemed to always want to point out when Madison was to have a serious thought, which felt very unnatural to me. But her desires were believable.
And then Mitch, a classmate, committed suicide, which ruined their plans. Like I said, Madison was very unlikable. King did a very good job at portraying her anger for the reader. She was an angry girl who was just seething inside. Nothing and no one could change her mind about herself, about her world. She has had her ways of coping up to this point, but obviously, those coping mechanisms aren’t working out. Enter Dean.
Dean is a genuinely good guy. He lost his friend to suicide and wants to help Madison. I enjoyed reading about Dean and his perfect family. And not perfect in a bad way either – they were all very compassionate. The way they acted, their connections with each other, were not relatable (for me) – my family isn’t really like that – but they were very believable. I believed that there could be a family out there that exists just like Dean’s family.
By the end, I thought Madison’s character and her relationship with Dean were developed well. He was quite the teenage savior and protector towards Madison. I thought their kiss was very awkward and some of their dialogue was sort of corny – I didn’t always feel the romance or the steam that Madison described – but the characters were written so well that I overlooked it. I definitely have my reservations about this novel, but the author made up for any gripes I may have with the ending. I thought the Epilogue was beautifully done and couldn’t have asked for a better closing.
All in all, I think it’s an important novel and enjoyed King’s writing. I’d definitely read more of her work.