As much a meditation on healing after loss as it is a gently developed love story (Lydia eventually comes to care for Jonah, Freddie’s best friend), with excellent characters who all get a chance to experience growth, Silver’s wonderful follow-up to One Day in December (2018) will be sure to appeal to existing fans and draw in new ones with its humor, heart, and excellent prose.
... could contain a commentary about the temptations and dangers of substance abuse. Or it might be something more magical or mystical than that; readers will have to decide for themselves about the nature of Lydia’s sleeping and waking lives. Above all, though, Josie Silver’s novel is a powerful exploration of the crippling weight of grief, and a portrait of an imperfect young woman who’s trying to find her way back to herself the best way she can ... Readers who first encountered Silver’s work in her debut novel, One Day In December, which was a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, will enjoy delving into this equally romantic and significantly more somber novel. And those who are experiencing Silver’s writing for the first time are in for a treat as well, as they follow Lydia on a journey through devastation into something resembling a new beginning.
... Unfortunately, the story didn’t resonate with me like that personally...I kept waiting for something more to happen. A conflict, some plot twist, anything that would propel the story forward. Instead, we keep watching Lydia repetitively live her life in the 'awake' and the 'asleep' world ... after the fifth or sixth time she visits this dreamland that is never quite explained and has no rules to it, the book falls into a repetitive two-step: Lydia wants to be asleep so she can be with Freddie, and the awake world is keeping her from it. The story had a lot of potential for exploration of morality and the afterlife in general but it never really addressed the issue of why Lydia could 'live on' while she was sleeping or the moral dilemma she is facing by taking these sleeping pills even when she doesn’t need them anymore just so she can see Freddie. In general, every issue that could have led to a conflict or a bit of food for thought was kicked under the rug. Even the ‘plot twist’ that you can probably see a mile coming was just – resolved? There seemed to be no tension, no anticipation, just a quick inner monologue and everything was sorted ... The writing style could also use some work. There was a lot of telling rather than showing and the dialogue felt sometimes very unnatural to the point of ridiculous. Not to mention the few instances of fake feminism when it came to clothing and drinking. Additionally, there was a lot of explanatory writing ... All in all, this was a quick read and for fans of afterlife tales and fluffy slowburns definitely worth looking into!
... heartbreaking, poignant ... Through lush prose, expert plotting, and richly imagined characters, Silver offers an achingly real portrait of grief transposed with the character’s intoxicating parallel universe. This will stay with readers long after the final page is turned.
While this is in many ways the complete opposite of Linda Holmes' Evvie Drake Starts Over, fans of that book will enjoy it ... A story that thoughtfully takes readers to the Hollywood ending they can see coming.