Narrator: Cassandra Morris
Published on 23 April 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, United States, Young Adult
Source: my local library
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One of Us Is Lying meets Carrie in this suspenseful story of friendship, family, and revenge.
Magpie Lewis started writing in her yellow notebook the day after her family self-destructed. The day her father ruined her mother's life. The day Eryn, Magpie's sister, skipped town and left her to fend for herself. The day of Brandon Phipp's party.
Now Magpie is called a slut in the hallways of her high school, her former best friend won't speak to her, and she spends her lunch period with a group of misfits who've all been as socially exiled as she has. And so, feeling trapped and forgotten, Magpie retreats to her notebook, dreaming up a magical place called Near.
Near is perfect – a place where her father never cheated, her mother never drank, and Magpie's own life never derailed so suddenly. She imagines Near so completely, so fully, that she writes it into existence, right in her own backyard. At first, Near is a peaceful escape, but soon it becomes something darker, somewhere nightmares lurk and hidden truths come to light. Soon it becomes a place where Magpie can do anything she wants.. even get her revenge.
You Must Not Miss is an intoxicating, twisted tale of magic, menace, and the monsters that live inside us all.
I quite enjoyed this book. It was suspenseful, probably even bordering on horror, with a sprinkling of magical realism.
I liked the atmospheric writing style. It was suspenseful and evocative, and I found it engaging and entertaining. I like the word choices and how the author kept the audience in suspense for most of the novel as to the true events leading up to the beginning of the book.
I didn’t very much like Magpie, as she did seem pathologically self-involved, however the author worked hard at making ex-BFF Allison even more self-centred, spoiled, and awful than Magpie, so she didn’t seem that bad in comparison. Magpie did have a lot going on psychologically, but she also didn’t seem to care about anything much anymore (possibly due to depression which was never touched on as I believe it is deliberately left open to interpretation), or any possible consequences of her actions, which led me to think maybe she was a psychopath dressed up as a sweet innocent teen girl. Her lack of morality and conscience paired perfectly with the suspense and horror elements. I also think my interpretation of Magpie’s character makes sense because she’s so quiet, she’s not a drama queen throwing tantrums unlike Allison, and she takes everything internally. Which explains why she creates a whole world just from the power of her imagination.
However me disliking the main character doesn’t mean this is a bad book. I also think Cathy and Heathcliff are awful characters (not badly written, but bad people) who do awful things but Wuthering Heights is still one of my favourite books because of this.
I did really liked Ben, a trans character that Magpie kinda almost starts dating, and how that friendship developed, what with sharing secrets and being vulnerable with each other. Clare was also another good developing friendship character due to also having suffered a personal trauma. I liked how the author wrote that Magpie had lost a friendship and was forced to make new friends rather than just being a weird loner with no friends her whole life. It meant Magpie was struggling to find her new place in her school and with new people. However, Magpie’s psychoticness meant that these friends, despite being genuinely wonderful to her, were not treated with the kind of love and respect they deserved, which is part of my problem with Magpie. She was too self-involved and driven to revenge to really reciprocate their genuine kindness and friendship. I get that she is flawed and that’s what drives the narrative and I’m okay with that, but I just don’t really like characters like that. They’re not for me, and that’s okay.
I’ve been having a hard time with endings recently, and when I had very nearly finished this book, being just a few minutes from the end, I thought that I was possibly in for yet another unsatisfying ending. However, I am pleased to say that upon finishing the book, including the epic conclusion, that I found the ending completely and totally satisfying. Magpie wasn’t in the same position she was when the book started, she’d grown as a character, and the nature of the book – suspense – meant that the ending could even be up to interpretation, which I liked. I chose to interpret it rather morbidly, as I didn’t like the character due to her choices, and I wanted her to get what I figured was a comeuppance.