This novel was really interesting, and not at all what I expected: set perhaps a few centuries ago, Judith is not the town’s favorite following her return after disappearing for a few years–without the best friend who disappeared the same night. Unable to speak, Judith can’t do much to defend herself, and the book is written as thoughts or letters, all to the boy she’s loved since she was a child. It took me a while to really get into the book; you know how you can tell you’re not invested if you can put it down easily? Like that, but around halfway through things started to pick up and I was glad to have read it. With a crazy plot twist and a terrifying climax, the last chunk of the book had me shrieking and freaking out to the point of my roommate wondering if I was still sane.
Judith was a really interesting, complicated protagonist, and it was intriguing to read something with a premise that we normally see a lot more of in contemporary YA coming of age novels set in the present; Julie Berry did a great job of making this change, and still allowing the plot to feel realistic.
This book really surprised me; after reading the synopsis I had no idea it would be set in early America. Towards the beginning, I honestly found Judith’s obsession with Lucas pretty creepy, but once I got to see more of their interactions prior to her abduction and how they started acting once they began to re-enter each other’s lives I could see the potential.
When they were about to burn Lucas at the stake I actually screamed out loud, but Julie Berry definitely made up for it with the satisfying ending. Judith and Lucas’s relationship felt a little too fast paced, but definitely real, and I loved the way it all began with her facing her demons to bring his father to save the town.
I especially loved her learning to read and talk again, I thought it was a really wonderful and empowering process that’s so important and rare, and also such a wonderful example of a female character not feeling the need to hold it against another woman that she’s with the man they both love (although yes, I will admit I was delighted to see Maria able to be happier with Leon, and Lucas in turn with Lucas).
This book was written in a really unique way, and I think the intersection of diary and letter really enhanced the function of the plot, though it may have weirded me out at the beginning.