I really enjoyed Henry’s older, similar YA found-family with ghost overtones grieving the loss of a loved one novel A Million Junes. Alot of the stuff that I loved about that book are present here:
A really engaging-but-broken heroine with a secret power she’s afraid of. Excellent cast of quirky friends. Otherwordly experience forcing an emotionally healing confrontation with loss.
The town of Splendor was devastated by a terrible accident that left numerous families with scars. A group of friends has formed around those scars, The Ordinary, formed around the kernel of twin siblings Arthur and Franny. The Ordinary like to make videos, and as they head out into a field adjacent to a curmudgeonly hermit’s home one night, they encounter strange lights and an experience that will change them forever.
The loveliness of this book lies in the well-crafted relationships between the members of the Ordinary. Each of them is broken in their own way, and through Franny’s eyes you fall in love with Handsome Remy- terrified for his Sheriff father, Levi, Sofia- the golden girl, Nick-stuck in the town caring for a wounded mother, and Arthur- her superhero obsessed twin.
What made this book slightly less enjoyable for me was the dizzying to-ing and fro-ing around the small town of various members of the gang in different combinations. They go back to the field, they go to find Nick at work, they break into a home, they are all having a sleepover, and then there’s more running and Franny in pain from being changed by her enounter, etc. etc.
It kind of reads like a more frenetic early Stranger Things morphed with Nicholas Sparks’ heavy angst. Which is great, but I enjoyed her other book more because it was less reliant (in my opinion) on dashing around action and explored backhistory/inner emotional landscape more.