This was my first Chris Bohjalian book and I don't know why I waited so long to pick one up! The writing in this story was raw, real, and graceful. Told in first person narrative, it really made you feel connected to the main character. I stayed up far past my bedtime many nights in a row because I just couldn't put this book down! Phenomenal read, I really won't be able to say that enough!
I cannot even imagine being in Emily Shepard's shoes. The only surviving member of her family, not allowed back into her own home or even her own town, and feeling hated by everyone just because of her name. Though this story is narrated by a teenage girl, I never got a whiny, high school voice through the writing. She is very adult in very real and very scary situations. Sure, a handful of times the way she acted screamed immature, but these were few and far between. I loved seeing her maternal side as she cares for Cameron and the desperation she had to keep him safe and cared for.
The title of this book was perplexing. You start to read and assume that it will weave into the story somehow. When it is finally revealed, it is extremely hard hitting. I had to re-read this paragraph a few times to grasp the severity and the correlation from the title to the character's situation. As Emily said, "It seems to me that if you didn't know the context of those words, they were kind of pretty."