I read this book ages ago, you could even say in a different world. I was autumn 2019 and I was happily on vacation in Crete, enjoying the amazing food, lovely weather, and beach. It feels surreal now, even though just before all the lockdowns I’ve also been to Tenerife enjoying pretty much the same things.
But back to the topic at hand, I read it on my Kindle where it must have lingered for a while. I think I bought it on one of the daily deals, without reading the synopsis, because I liked Reasons to Stay Alive so much. Then it got stuck, while I worked on my paper books TBR.
One thing I think that impacted my perception of the book was that I am clearly not the intended target of it. It’s not a book for skeptical and dark-hearted 35-year-olds. It is YA, which is my second least favorite genre, after romance. But as I am a stubborn creature once I started I usually finish.
The Radley’s live in Bishopthorpe Yorkshire. They are a family of four, living a normal dull life. Middle-aged parents, teenage children and all the daily drama that comes with it included, but nothing more substantial than that. There is some garlic allergy running in the family and also quite extreme light sensitivity, but nothing more to make the Radley’s stand out from the town’s crowd.
Until Clara, the daughter, is attacked at a party. It ends badly, for the attacker, but also it ends in an earth-shattering discovery for both the children. They are vampires. their parents abstain from blood and the kids have never had any in their life. Given that they are teenager such revelation causes all sorts of upheaval and rebellion.
To top that off the parent’s marriage is not in the best place either. Torn by the boredom of life, the choice of control over using the power available to them, the conformance and dashed dreams and hopes. So now we have a family unraveling and really the vampire thing is not important here, any secret would do.
Then their father’s brother arrives and the situation turns completely volatile, with everyone falling apart. More secrets come to light. As the family tries to cope with everything at once.
So there you have it, it’s a book about coming of age, about marriage crisis, about the choice between power and morality. The family is inherently different from people because they are vampires, but for some reason, they chose to adopt the human moral code. This causes a dissonance that is almost impossible to navigate through.
I did not like it too much, it was too simple, but all in all, if I take myself out of it it’s not a bad book. Probably one of the better examples of YA I ever read. Still not redeeming for the whole genre 😉
Next time I buy Matt Haig’s book I will surely read the synopsis beforehand.
Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska @vkphotospace.com
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