Now being 22, I'm not that far from those whirlwind teenage years but I still find myself unable to relate to younger characters. As I said before I was shocked that these characters were only 18 but I found Six so easy to relate to. I was lost in Six's journey to rediscover her inner strength, the confidence to be herself and not allow others to affect your inner core, that essential definition of who you are.
I found myself drifting back to a time when I was once making that same choice, to find the ability to be defined by no one but me. I understood her hesitancy, her struggle to find the right choice (because in the real word the right choice isn't as obvious) and admired her vulnerability. Six is not a weak character but neither is she a "strong" female character in the typical literary sense. She isn't out kicking monster ass or flipping her sexy hair around because she knows her effect on men. She is strong in the very way we use the word to describe real life women. She never gives up on herself, continues to pick herself up despite many struggles, aims to be more than what she believes herself to be and decides to try, to try everything she thought she couldn't do. She is definitely a strong woman.
However, despite my intense connection with Six the main narrator is actually Daniel. I don't often read books with a male narrator but Daniel is so sweet, earnest and adorable that I didn't even notice. The possibility for Six's connection to Daniel to be superficial was high. It could have been a run of the mill love at first sight encounter but Hoover gives us more. Rather than a moment of eyes meeting across a room, Hoover has Six and Daniel meet in pitch black darkness. In a moment of weakness they find common ground and a wishful request leads to a surprising moment. Never revealing who they really are to each other despite the moment, which goes on to haunt both of them. When they meet again there is no cliche recognition via weird statement or lock of hair, they are strangers still. From there they build a relationship full of it's own struggles and dramas but Six and Daniel manage to stick through. The twist at the end threw me for, well, for six but it added another level to their dynamic relationship. I'm sorry if I'm being vague but I can't help but hold as much back as possible because you MUST READ THIS BOOK!
Every moment in this book felt real. It captured teenagers in a way that did not degrade what it means to be young by creating hyper immature and like, totally annoying characters. Nor did it over-analyze the journey of attempting to find yourself by waffling along in great torrents of self reflective discovery. It highlighted in simplistic, honest and realistic writing, the mature minds of young adults figuring out "love" while still allowing the almost wishful sense of possibility that comes with having your future so free and malleable.
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