*I received this book as an eARC from Carlrhoda Books on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
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So this book... was not at all what I thought it was going to be. I didn't really think it was going to be set entirely in the world as we know it, and I didn't think that the events that occurred were at all what I expected them to be. I knew Jimmy would be dead, but the reasons why completely shocked me. I don't want to give too much away, because I hate when I read a review that spoils a book for me, but this book is probably not going to be what you bargained for.
That being said, I thought Bick's writing was very well done. I was drawn into the book (even though I wasn't really interested in the story once I got a little ways into it), and I found myself wanting to read until the very end. Most of the time, I forgot that this book was being written as a letter from a soldier in Afghanistan named Ben confessing about his involvement in and knowledge of Jimmy's murder. Most of the time though, I just wanted to go into the book world and punch Ben in the face.
I know it's hard to grow up in a small town that doesn't accept differences, but come on Ben. Do you have to be such a jerk? I really just did not connect with him at all, and I think that's one of the huge reasons I didn't particularly enjoy this book. Also, I felt like there was an unnecessary amount of blood and gore when Jimmy died. I'm not usually one to be squeamish over a book's description, but this was a little much. I don't care what sounds a hammer hitting someone make, or what their body looks like when it starts to decompose a little bit. So, don't read this one if you have a weak stomach.
I'm not really sure I would recommend this book to anyone... Maybe someone who wants to see what it's like to live in a small town full of bigots and closed minded people. I don't know. I just was not really a huge fan. I'm sure there are people out there who would enjoy this... I just don't know who. If the writing hadn't been done well, I probably would not have finished this book. But, since I was able to finish it and actually wanted to, I give this book a 2/5.