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I've had this on my TBR for quite a while, and I picked it up yesterday. I'm glad I did; it was a perfect holiday read.

Cadence Sinclair Eastman, at the start of the story, is 15 and belongs to a grand American family, spending summers on Beechwood, their private island off Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. Her mother is one of three daughters of Tipper and Harris Sinclair; the grandparents and each family have their own house on the island, and the whole thing is bankrolled by Harris. Harris' three daughters, now all divorced, live largely off (dwindling) trust funds.

At first, the lifestyle seems idyllic, a sort of grown up version of the Famous Five, with dogs and boats and picnics made by domestic staff, but gradually the cracks begin to show. Cadence falls for Gat, the nephew of her aunt's partner who joins them for the first time when she is 15. He is of Indian heritage, and it's not entirely comfortable for the family that Harris, an Obama supporter, treats him with distance and some hostility. The path of true love isn't smooth for Cadence and Gat in other ways, and it all seems to come to an end when Cadence suffers a head injury, the cause of which she can't remember. She suffers crippling migraines and seems to be ostracised from the Beechwood clan.

The novel allows us to experience Cadence's attempts to come to terms with what happened. There's a good twist - well, I didn't see it coming. It didn't seem to be marketed as a YA novel when I bought it, but I think it is a good crossover. (There's a quote from John Green on the cover.) The teenage voice is well realised, better than in Green's novels (or the two I have read). Lockhart captures the anxiety and the arrogance of teenagers in equal measures. The adults are unhappy and mixed up, but not merely stupid or malicious, as adults often are in YA fiction. Harris' daughters are struggling to figure out how to live and their frustration with the high minded judgement of the kids is made to seem perfectly reasonable, despite the focus on the viewpoint of the kids.

I also liked the caustic fairytales which interspersed the narrative.

I'm going to give this to a young lady of nearly 15 who I think will like it, but it's a good adult read too.

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I loved this too. My review from my blog is below. I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't see the twist at the end coming. It was cleverly done wasn't it?




This Young Adult novel is really rather good. Cadence Sinclair is a 15 year old girl, living a privileged lifestyle, spending the summers on a private island with her extended family. 


Regardless of how much money a family has, there are always secrets, and slowly but surely over the duration of one summer a secret is revealed to Cadence, a secret everyone around her already knows and is trying to keep from her. So far, so young adult. However the secret, when realisation strikes both the reader and Cadence is brutal, and not one I saw coming at all. It is really all rather clever, and disturbing.   What you see if the normal coming of age troubles coupled with a powerful, monied American family with the tough teflon veneer which keeps them going.  

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