I really liked the first 2/3rds of this book; the tone was compelling, Evan was a great voice/narrator and there are some great comments. Teen angst is always interesting and the mystery here makes for a good read. However, I thought that Evan's similarity to Ariel in his quest for Truth and as everyone doubts him and he begins to question his own sanity was too over the top. The book was beautiful in its simplicity with lovely photography and great second person narration. We did not need to have Evan fall down the same rabbit hole to feel Ariel. And then, when Dana appears and voices Evan's guilt it felt like it was just too much. I think I would have given this book 5 stars if it had just ended before Jack started doubting Evan...maybe after they ransacked Ariel's room.
I have a few of the most poignant quotes below:
"Empty but not void. Void is when there is absolutely nothing there and the nothing is natural, a complete vacuum. But empty--with empty, you are aware of what's supposed to be there. Empty means something is missing." Great distinction, kind of along parallel lines to alone vs. lonely.
"Ours wasn't the kind of friendship where I knew the exact day it started. I only knew the exact day it became essential." Beautiful phrasing and so true; people fall into our lives and it is not until we notice that we'd miss them that they become important.
"There is no such thing as no choice. There is always a choice. The only question is whether it's a bearable one." I loved that this one was crossed out..frequently some of the most interesting things in this book were self-edited by Evan. I have made a similar comment to a friend in the past about prioritizing.
"But there are people you know, and there are people you have a connection with...That's the nature of connection--not just the attachment, but the responsibility." Again, Leviathan captures the sentiment of friendship well.
"you could not be who you were without taking into account who was watching." Goffman's presentation of self in everyday life but put into context for a teenage audience.
Overall it was a quick, compelling, and appealing read. My only complaint is that the resolution felt too packaged and swift...a bit Scooby-Doo with the whole backpack stealing photo revelation.