Plot: The author uses the atmospheric setting to craft a haunting, skillfully plotted narrative, tinged with a sense of murky, encroaching dread.
Prose: Ducarte writes in graceful and subtly poetic prose, vividly conveying the high emotions of grief and fierce young love.
Originality: Ducarte integrates paranormal elements into the story in a manner that doesn’t overpower the more realistic dimensions; the balance achieved between these aspects of the narrative provides a compelling and uncommon psychological complexity.
Character Development: The romance that blossoms between Rebecca and Shawn has the intensity and euphoria of folie à deux. Ducarte depicts how the two characters’ mutual desire to escape into fantasy shapes their identities and emboldens their relationship.
Date Submitted: August 28, 2017
To say that I was cautious going into this read would be an understatement. Not because I feared it might not be good, but more because it's something well outside of my usual go-to genres, not the kind of subject matter I would automaticaly gravitate towards, and I feared doing it a disservice if i didnt love it just because it wasnt 'my thing' (so to speak.)
But any initial worries I had soon fell aside, and what I found instead in this story was a tale of mental struggle, an artful portrait of weakness and strength, frailty and solidity and the bonds between people that can be as fragile and tenuous as paper dolls, and at the same time as strong as the clenched hands of loved ones. This book is riddled with such opposing forces, and they pull at the characters like the moon pulls at the tide.
In short, character portraits need to be STRONG if you're going to tackle issues of gravitas, which this book certainly does, and the characters in this book are believable and sympathetic, without ever toppling into caracature or shmaltz. Each is drawn with layers of personality, nuances of character and distinct voices and viewpoints that really pulled me in a a reader and made it easy for me to become invested in their story.
I initially didnt like Becky. I know that might be an unpopular opinion to hold, but when i first met her in the book, i found her to be dramatic and slightly histronic, and feared I may be in for a book filled with overblown teen angst. But I couldn't have been more wrong.
In a book which deals with invisible illnesses like schizophrenia, depression and mental health, the sufferers of which are often generalised and percieved by wider society as 'being dramatic' or 'over the top', I found that I had been forced into that very initial viewpoint, which made my warming to her story and plight all the stronger as the narrative progressed and I spent time inside her head. (some of it uncomfortable, some of it eerily dreamlike and beautiful)
It was a clever way to say 'here's how the world sees things. if you think you know how things are, read on,' and then proceeds to subvert all your expectations.
An accomplished and clever thing to do.
Unless you are made of stone, this book should leave you feeling emotionally exhausted, a little heartbroken, and honoured to have been privy to the intricacies of the relationship dynamics weaved in and around this plot.
What is real and isnt real, is a subjective matter to each person, a subtly toyed with notion in this story. This is a excellent read, especially if you are interested in what makes people tick.
Ok, I am officially a Holly Ducarte fangirl. I already knew that this girl could write - she frequently posts snippets of poetry on Instagram and it's stunning. Holly's first novel embodies the same raw beauty as her poetry and I was captivated for the duration. The opening imagery of paper dolls hooked me straight in and I felt gripped until the very end of the book.
I loved the small-town Canadian setting of the book and thought that Ducarte used pathetic fallacy perfectly to enhance her story. I could picture the island so vividly. The Peter Pan connections were abundant and were another element of the book that I really liked.
Rebecca is a difficult character; I found her quite tempestuous, a little like Cathy from Wuthering Heights, but then that's what made her so interesting! It's quite heavy on the insta-love but it does make a degree of sense given what the protagonist is dealing with.
I genuinely didn't expect the plot to go in the direction it did; Ducarte kept me guessing right to the end! I love the final message - but you'll have to read the book yourself to find out what that is ;)
I've been well aware of Holly Ducarte's talents just from watching her Instagram page. She's a beautiful poet, a talented singer and now she has graced us with her debut novel, The Light Over Broken Tide. Is there nothing that Holly can't do?
The opening lines draw you right in. "We're all like paper dolls. Happiest when linked to another, often unaware of our flimsiness. So easily torn. What happens when we reach out to find there's no one there to hold our hand? I'll tell you what happens; we blow away into uncertain air, then desperately search for anything to pull us out of the chaos." From here there was no turning back.
Right off the bat I had a hard time dealing with Rebecca. So ungrateful, rebellious and rude to her father. I wanted to shake her a couple of times. Then I sat back and realized that hey, she just lost her mother, a father she barely knows comes back into her life and then whisks her away from everything she knows. Yeah, I'd be pretty pissed off too. As I grew to understand her, I had so much empathy for her. I remember all too well the feeling of being sixteen, the feeling of that very first love and thinking I knew everything. Ah Becky, I've been there. I feel ya girl, I really do.
I loved bringing in a local legend and putting them on an adventure. References to Peter Pan were super cute and her blind loyalty to Shawn was very realistic. She so desperately wanted him to rescue her from her father, her mother's death.... herself. He became her Peter Pan - someone to whisk her away from her problems like the story does when she reads it. I do think that my favorite character was Andy, her father. He has certainly made his fair share of mistakes but family is family and damn if he's not giving it his all!
Look you guys, this is a fairly somber read with the issues it tackles and Holly's talented writing really shines in this book. This is a story of first love, adventure, forgiveness, mental health, grief and letting go. Sixteen is hard. First loves are hard. Ands sometimes... just breathing is hard. The level of care Holly uses in tackling these strong issues is done intelligently and you can see traces of her poetic mind sprinkled throughout. This is not your typical YA novel and I suggest you put this on your radar. I look forward to more from Ducarte.