I received this e-book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
The title of this book drew me in. When I read the synopsis I knew I would enjoy this book. And I did. I pretty much fell in love with this book within a few pages. I was intrigued immediately. Galliard, who is one of our POV's, is such a cool character. He struggles with Tourrettes syndrome, and it was so neat to be in his head and see how he thinks. I have a 7-year-old daughter who may have Tourrettes, it's still too early to tell, but this book has even helped me understand her tics a bit more.
Gilliard has grown up on Red sun, a commune, all his life. He doesn't know much of the outside world, only that it is horrible and he never wants to go. Once you hit a certain age in the commune, you can choose to either go or stay. Most people stay, and that is Gilliard's plan until events happen in his life where he's not so sure anymore. Our other POV is Stella. She has a younger sister named Jill, who she takes care of most the time. Her father works nights, so he isn't around a ton. Her mother committed suicide when she was younger and her brother has run away to Red Sun a few years ago.
I loved Stella. She is a down to earth gal, but super smart. She is super into space and wants to be a space engineer. The only problem is, because all that has happened in her life, she feels like she has to take care of her sister instead of going to school.
The craziness starts happening in the town and nobody can explain it. Some of the things that happened really creeped me out. I kept trying to imagine what the world would I do if this stuff happened to me. I really liked the detail and creativeness in these weird occurrences. One review I read, they thought it should have been crazier, but I thought it was just the right amount.
One thing I loved about this book was all the music references. Galliard is super into music. He plays piano and guitar amazingly and can sing as well. The book is set in 1977 so it was fun to see all the musicians he was into. The other thing I really enjoyed about this book was Red Sun. I couldn't believe some of the stuff they thought to be the truth. It seemed so crazy, but then I had to remember that there are places like these that have the same insane beliefs. Some even worse.
I recommend this book to everyone. I couldn't put it down because I had to know what was going to happen next!
Galliard - I loved Galliard! I loved how he handled his Tourrette's and I enjoyed being in his head. He is a great MC. He loves music and is great at it. I liked that he didn't back down in certain situations and that he really thought things out. I can't imagine being brought up in a commune, he could have turned out way different.
Stella - Stella was a great MC as well. She is so smart and so mature, I really liked that about her. She has been through so much in her short life, but she has handled it pretty well. I love how she loves her family.
Jill - Jill was a fun character. She is Stella's younger sister and she loves murder mysteries! I loved that about her. She reads a lot of Nancy Drew and Hardy boys and loves watching the news.
Archer - Archer is Galliards best friend and a super funny character. He always knew the best things to say. He definitely cracked me up a few times.
Kim - Kim is a friend of Stella's. Well not a super close friend, they went to the same school and work together at the drive-in. She isn't in the book much but every scene she is in, I loved it. She's just your everyday bad-a chick.
Phoenix - I honestly didn't like Phoenix throughout the whole book. I'm sure if you read it, you know why.
There were so many times in this book that I was like... what the world just happened. I couldn't put this book down because I needed to know why everything was happening. There were definitely some pretty crazy scenes. Here are my thoughts!!!!
- I loved Galliard and all his tics! I also really enjoyed learning about the crazy commune.
- So I dislike Phoenix a ton. What a horrible thing to do to Galliard. He could have at least told him that he was also wanting to be Resident Artist. For someone who hates the outside world because it's horrible, sure knows how to be horrible. I felt so bad for Galliard. He really thought he was going to get it. What a punch to the gut.
- Stella and her family finding that dead dog on the road was creepy. But even creepier was her finding those bunch of eyeless snakes. That made me cringe when I read it. At this point, I kinda figured that Phoenix was her brother.
- I was so glad that Galliard decided to go on the outside for the crossing. It was sweet that Archer wanted it to be the perfect thing for his first time. I obviously was super excited for Galliard and Stella to meet as well.
- Wow, that story of Stella's mom was heartbreaking. All I could think about was how could a mother ever to that to her husband and her 3 children. I don't care how bad you feel, you don't ever do that to your family. GO get help or something.
- I didn't blame Galliard one bit for not forgiving Phoenix.
- Stella and Galliard's first meeting was hilarious. I couldn't believe they were smoking weed and got caught. I also couldn't believe that Galliard knew who Stella was.
- Wow, Galliard was writing letters to Stella as Phoenix. For 2 years! How is that even possible. Stella and her brother must not have been that close if she couldn't tell it wasn't him. That was crazy. Now, of course, I start getting anxious because obviously, Galliard has to tell her at one point. And I couldn't see how that could ever go smoothly.
- Rod asking Galliard to be leader eventually was fishy. Wasn't really sure what he was playing at.
- I loved that Stella went into the diner demanding to see Phoenix, but instead, she gets Galliard. I hated that he just didn't tell her right then and there. He totally dug himself a deeper hole by lying.
- Okay, the count down in her room was super weird. I couldn't figure it out. Also when that timer appeared in town, I really wanted to know what was going on.
- I loved that her father was finally dating again. And their first dinner together was cool. That storm was super insane though! And Gayle finding Stella's work was perfect. Stella really needed someone like Gayle to encourage her to go to school.
- I already knew Galliard going to that party was not a good idea. I don't see how anyone could have thought that. Archer has to know that for someone like Galliard it was going to end up bad. That part made me really mad. Though I did like that Kim was there and understood him, unlike that one jerk who was horrible to him.
- I hated that Galliard kept lying to Stella. I knew it was going to blow up in his face. But I loved that they went out and got a burger and then hung out with Kim. I loved how Kim and Stella don't make his Tourrettes a big deal. It's like once they found out they treated him like a normal person.
- That rain being red was super creepy.
- I was so glad that Galliard finally talked to Phoenix. He at least tried for Stella's sake. I can't believe that Phoenix knew Galliard was writing Stella. That was crazy.
- I know telling her was going to be hard but every time he almost did and then didn't made me so dang anxious. Galliard listening to Queen for the first time was probably my favorite scene of the whole book. Kathryn wrote that perfectly. I could picture the song he was listening to and how it felt. And then after, him playing the BeeGees was super good too.
- Finally the kissed!
- Stella and her dad's talk was perfect. It was sad that he didn't notice, but I understood. It was a super sweet talk. I won't lie though, Jill made me pretty mad. I get that she was mad at Stella for even thinking about going away to college, but she shouldn't have ruined all of Stella's hard work. It was so good that Stella didn't get that angry or go to Jill and say something. On the other hand, it is sad because Stella believes she deserved that for even wanted to leave.
- The suicide note left by their mother was horrible. Just horrible.
- I was so happy when Galliard stood up to dumb Rod. I didn't trust Rod one bit. I'm also glad it opened Galliard's eyes to what's really going on. That the best thing for him to do is leave.
- The blackout and the crazy townspeople. I wanted to yell at everyone to calm the freak down. I was so glad that Stella's father got them out of there, and that Archer and Galliard found them too.
- Eek! They all went to Stella's house.
- I was waiting and waiting for the time that Galliard was finally going to tell her. And man, was it bad. That was such an intense part. I hated it. At first, I thought Stella was going to be understanding... but boy was I wrong.
- I couldn't believe Jill left! I'm glad she had the good sense to take the walkie talkie.
- The whole scene at the drive-in was pretty intense. Sinkholes and more pink lightning, I was scared for everyone. I was worried when Archer and Galliard found Stella and took her to the commune. I was scared that they weren't going to let them leave once they got there and what was going to happen to Jill. What I wasn't expecting, was Rod not letting them in. But Opal punching Rod was amazing. And the scene with Craig "Phoenix" and Stella was equally amazing. He deserved all of that and more. I knew Galliard would follow Stella out, and I was so glad for that. And when that car came down the road I just knew it was going to be her family. What a perfect reunion.
- So the ending. Galliard decided to leave the commune with Archer to start a new life. I was so glad for that. Him and Stella's send-off was sad for sure, but it had to happen. I was so glad that Stella did decide to go to college and realized that she could love her family and be with them, but also go to school.