Jessie Sloane is sitting vigil next to her mother who has reached the final stage of her terminal cancer. For all of her life, it’s been just the two of them and questions regarding her father remain unanswered. As the final moment arrives, Jessie begins her descent into the search for her identity as she learns she may not legally exist. Further complicating matters is her inability to sleep as her insomnia stretches into days. We’re also given her mother’s point of view, beginning in 1996, as the two stories transition back and forth, leading to a convergence at some point.
This is a tricky story, one you need to pay close attention to from the first page. When Jessie learns her social security number is assigned to a child who died 17 years ago, I immediately jumped to a theory that I held onto for most of the story, smugly believing I knew the path it would take. The effects of the insomnia make Jessie an unreliable narrator, smoothed by the insertion of her mother’s point of view at key intervals. But, I paid attention and that ending was the ONLY one it could have been for the story to be true to itself. It wasn’t controversial at all to me, though I get why so many feel otherwise.
The narrators were excellent, both capturing the essence of their characters, especially as they reached their most desperate points. They fit them better than gloves.
It’s a clever story and I like clever. What gave me trouble was Jessie’s almost incoherent musings as the number of days of her insomnia grew. Being inside of her head was painful and uncomfortable. But, I LOVED that ending, one I actually guessed before the big reveal. I liked this story, a lot, but those later chapters had me begging for the end. I highly recommend this book but it may not be for everyone. If you like tricky, as I do, then by all means indulge.
- Release Date: September 4, 2018
- Narrators: Julia Whelan & Jayme Mattler
- Audio Length: 9 hours, 53 minutes
- Publisher: Harlequin Audio
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(Thanks to Harlequin Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)