On the run from a past she can’t bear to face, Clara retraces her the journey outlined in her father’s journal. Then a captivating, broken boy derails her. He sketches things he shouldn’t know. Images from memories she wants to forget. And she can’t let him out of her sight until she understands how he knows these things.
But following Elias means a trip into fantasy. The boy has two parts – the gentle Elias who soothes Clara’s fears and the rough, unpredictable one who lives in an imaginary world called Salem and a great evil to the east. As Clara falls ever deeper in love with Elias, she vows to follow his quest to the end, hoping it will unite the two versions of him.
I’m a huge fan of Friesen’s writing. Jerk, California pretty much blew me away, and I really enjoyed Aquifer as well.
This story, unlike the others, is written from a female point-of-view. Friesen does a great job bringing Clara to life – she’s spunky and fierce and knows how to manipulate people, but there’s a softer side of her, too, and Elias brings that out in her. There was one moment in which I was a little disappointed by Clara’s response. Something huge happens and she sort of calmly responds. I was waiting for the realization of the greatness of the loss she’s experienced, and I felt like that didn’t really come.
I really enjoyed the way that he brings Elias and Clara’s stories together. It wasn’t what I expected – it was far better. Much like Friesen’s debut, Jerk, California, the journey Clara and Elias take is spiced with interesting characters and events. This author has a great eye for character and for taking small moments and making them really memorable by delivering them via those unexpected bystanders to the story.
Brief kissing. It’s clear Clara is a sexually experienced girl (no details offered), and she offers herself to Elias, but he puts on the brakes pretty quickly.
Clara has a lot of bitterness toward God. In a moment in which she feels she’s lost everything, she begins praying. Instead of the usual suffocating feeling of guilt about her past, a peace envelops her. She begins to pray with more confidence.