Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara
Published October 16th 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Summary: A resonant debut novel about retreating from the world after losing everything—and the connections that force you to rejoin it.
Since the night of the crash, Wren Wells has been running away. Though she lived through the accident that killed her boyfriend Patrick, the girl she used to be didn’t survive. Instead of heading off to college as planned, Wren retreats to her father’s studio in the far-north woods of Maine. Somewhere she can be alone.
Then she meets Cal Owen. Dealing with his own troubles, Cal’s hiding out too. When the chemistry between them threatens to pull Wren from her hard-won isolation, Wren has to choose: risk opening her broken heart to the world again, or join the ghosts who haunt her.
Review: I hadn’t heard much about this book. I found this book in a bookstore once and was compelled to buy it solely on it’s cover. The book jacket didn’t offer much so I put it back on the shelf, went home and looked it up. It wasn’t until my recent trip to the library that I found this book again and immediately went to borrow it.
Where does one begin to write a review about such a beautiful book? This book brings justice to it’s title. Lovely, dark and deep reads like a poem. Amy McNamara has a degree in poetry so it’s no surprise how poetic and elegantly this was written. I had high expectations going into this book and McNamara doesn’t disappoint. I devoured this book cover to cover, lost in her beautifully written passages. McNamara does imagery well – showing, not telling.
Lovely, dark and deep follows Wren Wells, a girl trying to find her place in society and coming to terms with the death of her boyfriend, Patrick. Wren is a recluse and likes her peace and quiet, finding solidarity in running. Wren meets Cal whose battling his own problems. Recluse. And so the two begin to meet and their relationship begins to blossom.
McNamara does characters well. Wren is someone who is lost and she’s trying. This is the thing that makes McNamara stand out from most – her characters are realistic. Wren’s thoughts, emotions, turmoil. Every bit and piece about Wren is so realistic that you almost feel like you know her in reality. Wren is shut off from the world and rejects help – a trait that can be dislikable but McNamara stays true to how a person griefs. Everyone griefs differently, and Wren’s idea of grief is as such.
Wren’s relationship with Cal is somewhat undeniable. A relationship between two troubled teens isn’t anything particularly new, but again, McNamara makes it work. Wren and Cal’s relationship blossom in stages the way a real relationship would. At one point, I didn’t understand why Cal was reacting to the relationship a certain way but in the later pages I understood. These are two people, trying to go by with real troubles that even something as trivial becomes important because they need each other yet they understand why if the other decides not to pursue the relationship.
I did love the other characters in book like Mary and Zara. I didn’t enjoy Michael or Meredith’s character – not because they were badly written, but because of how they are in the book. It’s amazing how much McNamara can make you feel even if a character appears for a few pages or chapters.
The book does drag out, understandably so considering the writing was incredibly poetic. The last 100 pages or so, while I did enjoy it I felt that it was unnecessary to make it drag out over so many chapters and pages. The ending was a little abrupt and I didn’t particularly like that since we were only starting to see Wren’s character change. I would have loved to see how her character evolved a little bit more rather than just touching the surface.
Having gone through a painful loss myself last year, I thought this book brought out the feelings and thoughts appropriately. Death is something hard to talk about, let alone write about and McNamara does it in such a manner that brings you calmness among the calamity. The book indeed is lovely, dark and deep. It is such a fantastic read and I can foresee myself reading this book again sometime in the future. Highly recommended!