Title: Because You’re Mine
Author: Rea Frey
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: August 6th, 2019
Page Count: 400
Format: Electronc ARC provided by NetGalley
My Rating: 4 Stars
It’s not that I have a kind-of love-hate relationship with this book, exactly…but I do have some issues, I guess. Do I have strong feelings about this book? Definitely. Did I enjoy reading this book? Mostly, yes. Were there some (potentially glaring) issues for me? Well, yeah. And I’ll get to those.
But my main takeaway is this: even though this book had some potentially big issues in my mind, I still really enjoyed the journey. And for me, that’s often the most important thing in shaping my overall feelings and impression of a book. This book gave me all the things I need to make me love a book: good writing, likeable characters, action, emotion, plot twists, secrets galore, and a plot that kept me guessing and never wanting to put it down.
Single mother Lee needs a break. Her on-the-spectrum son, Mason, is a wonderful kid, but what mother (especially a single one) can’t use a little time away every now and again? Lee’s best friend, Grace, convinces her to go on a weekend girls’ get-away with her and their other two friends, while handsome tutor, Noah, watches Mason. Within 48 hours, someone is dead (SPOILERS – it’s not Mason. I’m sorry, but this was stressing me out before I read the book and want to put some minds at ease).
The book alternates between three points-of-view (POV) (Lee, Grace, and Noah). It also alternates between multiple time periods – in the first half of the book, the chapters alternate between present day, and “one week before the fall.” In the second half of the book, the chapters alternate between present day and “the past.”
What did I love about this book?
Really good writing. Entertaining plot. Suspense, mystery, heartache, betrayal. And So. Many. Secrets. Each of our three main characters carry secrets that shape the events of this book, for better or (usually) worse. Some reveals were kind of predictable, and some were more surprising.
Surprisingly for me, I actually really liked all of the characters – this is unusual for me, especially in some of the books I’ve been reading lately. I genuinely found the characters to all be likable, despite (or maybe because of) their quirks. And they are all so well fleshed out. We’re given enough time in each of their narratives to really feel like we’re getting to know them.
Ok, so why did I start this review off saying that I have a kind-of love-hate relationship with this book. What didn’t I like about it?
The ending was a HUGE (like, super huge) out-of-left-field, couldn’t-have-guessed-that, never-saw-that-coming twist. And you know what? Generally speaking, I’m okay with that. I’ve seen people complain about that before, saying it’s lazy writing, there should have been SOME kind of clues leading up to that. And I don’t always agree. HEAR ME OUT. If the story isn’t being told in the POV of the character who shocks us, isn’t it understandable that we wouldn’t have seen it coming? If we are in the POV of a character who is being shocked by something or someone, clearly they didn’t see it coming, so why should we?
My problem with this book is that we ARE given the POV of the character who shocks us (too spoilery?) Granted, I should probably go back and re-read that character’s chapters to double-check, but from what I remembered, the character’s thoughts contradicted the surprise ending, so there is no way we could have guessed it. Which makes for a great surprise, I guess, but seems unfair in a way. I get that you want to keep things a surprise so we can’t see them thinking evil, nefarious, spoilery things, but then either don’t give us their POV at all, or don’t give us contradictory thoughts. These are the character’s personal, inner thoughts – they shouldn’t be contradictory to what we’re told the character was really feeling and thinking in the end. Again, I should go back and re-read those chapters to see if this was really the case, but I honestly had no inkling that anything was off with this character.
The other thing that was hard for me (and this is just a personal opinion) was Mason. He’s a 7 year old boy and has to be told a pretty hard truth. The scene is emotional, and heart breaking, and honestly, I held the book kind of at an angle while reading it because I thought it might be easier if I couldn’t really see the words super easily. It did not make it any easier. It’s not a bad thing about the book – just something that was really hard for me to read.
So, did I have some issues with this book? Yes. Did it detract from my overall enjoyment or opinion of the book? Actually, no. This is one of those books that I’ve been thinking about a LOT since finishing. The author, I think, did an amazing job of really making you feel strong emotions: love, hope, betrayal, regret, heartbreak….so many things. And, even though I may not have been totally on board with the twist ending, it didn’t take away from the fact that I really enjoyed the journey of this book. To me, that is the hallmark of a really good writer. I will definitely be checking out her previous book, and will keep an eye out for her future works.
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Griffin for providing me with a free advance review copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.