When her carry-on bag is accidentally switched with Elias’s identical pack, Clara uses the luggage tag to track down her things. At that address she discovers there is not one Elias Phinn, but two: the odd, paranoid, artistic, and often angry Elias she met on the plane, who lives in an imaginary world of his own making called Salem; and the kind, sweet, and soon irresistible Elias who greets her at the door, and who has no recollection of ever meeting Clara at all. As she learns of Elias’s dissociative identity disorder, and finds herself quickly entangled in both of Elias’s lives, Clara makes a decision that could change all of them forever. She is going to find out what the Salem Elias knows about her past, and how, even if it means playing along with his otherworldly quest. And she is going to find a way to keep the gentle Elias she’s beginning to love from ever disappearing again.
This book. It's the sort of book that is so filled with hope but at the same time with despair. The whole time you are rooting for the characters but feel in the pit of your stomach that something might turn out wrong. I liked it. I hated it. And I must review it.
Since I always seem to follow this formula (though 2015 may be the year to change that) I shall start with the characters of the story. Clara was so lost, and wild, and so many other things at times. I felt bad for her really. She was a wandering soul seeking an anchor and filled with bitterness against past wrongs. She was a good character though, even through her bad. She was real.
Elias was awesome. I seriously loved him. Both of him. Well, most of the time. One Elias was so sweet and uncertain and the other was focused but adorable in his own way. Elias really jumped off the pages and made this story. He was my favorite. There was so much to learn about him. There was good and there certainly was bad. And there was sad. He was a wonderful character.
There were lots of other crazy drop ins. Like a girl who robs toll booths (well, gets the operator to allow them free passage) and a boy who explores secret tunnels without his parents knowledge. The characters in this story were so diverse and interesting, there was also something crazy happening that made you wonder if it were real or just a piece of someone's imagination.
Now, the plot and everything else. This story was beautiful in a sad sort of way. Two people searching for a place that probably doesn't exist, but at the same time searching for their pasts. I enjoyed every adventure, every rabbit trail down to the final conclusion that was full of shock, wonderment, and fantastic writing.
And that was my biggest issue. I /hated/ the ending. I bawled like crazy and made my brothers wonder if they should read it. But in a way I did hate it. Perhaps that is a strong word, but in my current state of feeling it is the most accurate. I should say instead that I was unsatisfied with the ending. There was so much more that could be said, so much more to happen. I needed more of a solid end. But I think maybe that was the author's intention all along. To break our hearts with secrets and endings and to make us cry. It's a good book. A solid four stars.
~ a rambling author