Oh how I love this book.
It was one of those impulse-clicks on Netgalley. I swore I’d stop doing them…but then I turn up gems like these that I would never have thought to try!
Thank you Random House Australia on Netgalley! Are You Seeing Me? by Darren Groth hits shelves on August 1st, 2014.
This road trip will have earth-shattering consequences . . .
Twins Justine and Perry are about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime in the Pacific Northwest.
It’s been a year since they watched their dad lose his battle with cancer. Now, at only nineteen, Justine is the sole carer for her disabled brother. But with Perry having been accepted into an assisted-living residence, their reliance on each other is set to shift. Before they go their separate ways, they’re seeking to create the perfect memory.
For Perry, the trip is a glorious celebration of his favourite things: mythical sea monsters, Jackie Chan movies and the study of earthquakes.
For Justine, it’s a chance to reconcile the decision to ‘free’ her twin, to see who she is without her boyfriend, Marc – and to offer their mother the chance to atone for past wrongs.
But the instability that has shaped their lives will not subside, and the seismic event that Perry forewarned threatens to reduce their worlds to rubble . . .
This book is so so special and how even am I going to explain it?
Don’t fear! I’ll do my best. I’m not a quitter. And, you know, I can always employ flailing gifs to help me out.
First of all, it’s about Australian twins, Justine and Perry, going for a holiday in Canada.
Bring out the moose, eh? (I know, that’s a vicious Canadian stereotype, but if it makes the Canadians feel any better when I think “moose” I think “Supernatural” not Canada. But I’m digressing, aren’t I?) Books about Australians are awesome, especially when they are fair dinkum Aussies. They use words like “sticky-beak” and talk about “Possum Magic”. IT IS SO AUSTRALIAN. The humour is very Australian too. Lots of sarcasm. Lots of dry humour.
Like Justine’s response to people staring at Perry:
“You’ve never seen a disabled person and their homicidal carer before?”
I’m just snickering over here, don’t mind me.
I do scowl at the blurb because…it’s a “holiday” not a “roadtrip”.
I’m not fond of misleading blurbs, but this one IS a doozy. Look, they go in an airplane across the ocean to Canada. Yes, there is a bit of driving. But one does not call a flight to Canada a roadtrip. No.
Let’s talk about the characters, eh?
(See what I did there? With the “eh”? Okay…forget it.) I absolutely adored both Justine and Perry! It’s dual narrated, but in quite BIG sections. So you really get comfortable inside Justine’s POV…and then it’ll switch to Perry. I think that helped me get to know them sufficiently before it moosed to a different viewpoint.
They’re twins, their 19, their dad has just died, and they’re taking a holiday before some Big Life Changes happen. (That’s all in the blurb, so not spoilers.) Perry has a brain condition, which I suspect is basically Autism. When it flipped to his POV, it was so excellently written! His voice is completely different to Justine’s. Long sentences. Imaginary scenarios. And he didn’t explain anything. He just narrated like it was happening in his head.
Like they went out to eat and Justine orders, and Perry starts thinking about food poisoning and imagining everyone in the restaurant dying. But he’s saying everyone is dying around him. As the reader we have to pick out what’s real and what’s not real. I loved that.
Justine is also all types of awesome. She’s caring. She’s stressed. And she’s capable. None of this clingy desperate lovesick YA that I keep falling into. This is real and kind of sad, but beautiful.
Let’s moose over to talk about why the author wrote this.
Like the stalker-reader I am, I snuck onto the author’s website and read his blog. He actually has twins himself, and he wrote this book for his daughter. His son has autism. I don’t think he wrote this book about them (since they’re not yet teens), but he wrote it for them, and HOLD MY MOOSE (meese?) that’s just incredibly sweet. It made me trust the book 100% too, because the author knows what he’s talking about.
The writing and characters are just fabulous. What more do I want in a book?
I wouldn’t call it the most original thing I’ve ever read. But it’s enjoyable. It’s sweet. There are some serious NO STAHP moments, and then I just wanted to hug my kindle.
But if nothing else, you want to read this for the Aussie humour, okay? Okay.
(This is Justine imagining HOW they should be greated arriving in Vancouver…so her little dry interior monologue:)
Yes, go straight through. No need for passports. We love Australians here in Canada…We know you’ve had a rough flight. We know you’ve had a rough LIFE. All those sharks and snakes and rugby players trying to kill you every moment of the day. Far be it from us to make things more difficult. And, here, have this leftover gold medal from the VAncovour Winter Olymipcs. You’ve earned it.
I died at the “sharks and snakes and rugby players trying to kill you”…Welcome to ‘Straya MATE.
This is like 4.5 (except Goodreads doesn’t allow half stars so I don’t usually bother with them). I LOVED it, but it was a bit predictable. It was happy/sad and bitter/sweet and I loved viewing the world through Perry AND Justine’s eyes. And also I got to make lame moose jokes, so that’s fun, eh?
Cait has not been to Canada but she’s watched BROTHER BEAR so that counts for something, eh? She has heard that it’s a nice big place with lots of polite people and states that are the size of countries with only 2 people living in them. Sounds wonderful. She has never seen a moose. But she’s seen Sam in Supernatural which is kind of the same thing.