“You sound like Lorde. But like, with maple syrup.”
One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. Fiona has notebooks full of songs she’s written about her frustrations, her dreams, and about her massive crush on beautiful uber-jock Trent McKinnon. If she can’t even find the courage to look Trent straight in his beautiful blue eyes, she sure isn’t brave enough to play or sing any of her songs in public. But something’s changing in Fiona. She can’t be defined by her scars anymore.
And what if there hadn’t been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride. She’s got more important things to deal with than her best friend Trent McKinnon, who’s been different ever since the kiss. When her luck goes south, even lacrosse can’t define her anymore. When you’ve always been the best at something, one dumb move can screw everything up. Can Fi fight back?
Hasn’t everyone wondered what if? In this daring debut novel, Moriah McStay gives us the rare opportunity to see what might have happened if things were different. Maybe luck determines our paths. But maybe it’s who we are that determines our luck.
Everyone needs to read this book. Everyone, everywhere, in every world with every choice, needs to read this book. We’ve all finished a book and wondered what the character’s life would have been like if it had never happened- what if she didn’t go to the coffee shop that night? Would she still have met her best friend? What if he got injured and didn’t go to that college? Would he have met the love of his life? This book answers that about its character. Fiona- or Fi, as she’s called in another life- has two different paths, two different universes that show us just how twisted life can be- how no, you won’t always have the same ending.
Fiona is a great character in both her stories. She shows the same basic qualities- strength, loyalty, kindness- to those she cares about, even though those people differ in each story. She’s a dynamic character, and it’s easy to see how the events in both realities shape her life, change her, make her…more. And those events are so huge and so different that there’s really no way to compare them. She climbs these obstacles that seem insurmountable- and her weaknesses are made different as well. Toward the middle of the book, you can see where the two paths come the closest, but while one soars, with Fiona finding herself in the place she’s meant to be, the other plummets, showing us that even those with the most possibilities can still sink to the depths of human despair. And yet, even when her story is at its worst, both girls find a reason to keep going.
Now, the secondary characters, which are most notably the guys. Oh, they’re great. Ryan, the brother. Marcus and Jackson King, the brother-duo that make appearances in both stories for different reasons, at different times. David, the one who sees beyond the scars first, and Trent, the ‘demi-god’. Personally, Jackson and Trent were my favorites, and I couldn’t breathe through all the twists and turns in Fi’s relationship with the four of them that weren’t related to her. Romantic and non, each relationship was intricate, perfectly carved, and in Fiona’s story, there is an ENORMOUS shocker that leaves you gasping when it comes to the Kings. There were, in fact, two different endings (in fact, you might call them beginnings) for each girl, and it was amazing to see how each story intertwined while you knew things about the characters from their other lives that they hadn’t realized themselves.
The only complaint I had (and this is unfixable, because it was just my brain short-circuiting) was that I got kind of confused in the middle of the book. I couldn’t keep track of which Fiona had done what, which college they had chosen, which boy they liked, so I had to skim a little bit so as to not get lost in the details. That’s it. But my oh my, the endings made my heart sing. They were fantastic, and I’ve never had my heart torn between two possibilities and had BOTH of them come true! It just amazed me. I love this book. So much so that even though it stomped on my heart a couple times, I want to read it again. Right now. And forever.
WHAT TO WATCH:
Honestly, not a lot that I can remember was objectionable in this book, making it all the more wonderful. Of course, I haven’t been able to write my review until now and I finished it a week ago, so I may have missed a bit. But really, there’s no sex, very little language, no drugs, and only violence in that one of the girls breaks a bone in a lacrosse tournament. However, her best friend is a lesbian, and while it’s not discussed in detail, there are some mentions of that, such as her friend in college who’s found ‘a girl she’s in love with’ and so on. But I think that’s about it.
I still highly recommend this book for all readers, teen and up. It was so different from anything that I’ve ever read, and I love that it was so well-written that it accomplished its purpose, which was to show that no path is set- the what-ifs in our lives are all very possible. Five stars and two thumbs up for Ms. McStay.
Questions? Comments? Books you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and I’ll be sure to check it out!