Can we just start with the superficial? That cover is gorgeous! I loved the image and the title - perfect for this book.
Now, if you'd told me that this book would cover climate change, racism, illegal immigration, with a little murder thrown in, I'd guess that would probably not work out too well. After all, who wants a bunch of hard topics shoved down their throats? But Julie Carrick Dalton does a phenomenal job of weaving some pretty intense plotlines together seamlessly. I never felt overwhelmed by the number and scope of issues facing Cadie. It looks like this is Dalton's debut novel from what I can see, and if that is true, I can't wait to see what comes next. I could not put this book down and I connected with Cadie and Daniela on a visceral level. Watching them forge a bond as youngsters over picking berries and summer days, and seeing their relationship blossom again as adults was heartfelt. Dalton has a way with her characters - each of them felt fully dimensional and I connected with each one of them on some level. I loved the way she wove this tale of murder into a beautiful setting, and threaded all those complicated themes through there as well. It was subtle and important. These are real issues facing our country right now and the way things were presented in this book felt genuine. My *only* fault with this book was that the plot twist seemed a bit predictable to me. I knew what was coming well before it came, although there were still a few twists and turns I didn't see which kept things interesting.
This was a fantastic book to start the year off with!