Top critical review
Overall a hot mess I can't recommend
Reviewed in the United States on September 22, 2018
I was drawn to this book because of the autism issue and kept reading it to the end, not something I always do when a book goes off the rails as badly as this one did a number of times. You want your neuro-atypicals? You want your trending social issues? This book has a whole lot of them: autism, clairvoyance, schizophrenia or something that looks like it, drug abuse, creative/artistic temperament, domestic violence, female empowerment, child abuse and its horrific aftermath--I think there's more, but I've mentally blocked the rest. In short, too much.
The characters of the two young girls are fairly convincingly drawn, but the two adult women, not so much. For the life of me, I couldn't understand the motivations of either of the adult women (especially in their choice of men) 90% of the time, and I didn't believe their friendship. The males, young and old, are "mysterious" cardboard characters, which a discussion question in the back suggests was done on purpose, to give room for the female characters. Didn't work for me. The main male villain, who has only cameo appearances, is a cross between an oily Don Juan and a laughable Snidely Whiplash, complete with a triumphant snarling pronouncement in the scene of the final big reveal. Oi.
There were a handful of scenes that I'm guessing the author meant to be high drama where I found myself laughing out loud, groaning "C'mon!," and snorting my tea out my nose, including a scene that climaxes with the house where the drama's being enacted hit by lightning. The first big plot twist is something you see coming from a long way off; the second one is the stuff of soap operas: Gasp! No!
This book is from a well-respected up-and-coming publisher (after finishing the book, I checked to see if it was self-published), and I guess there's something here that kept me reading, but I can't in good conscience recommend it. By the last third, I was reading out of gritty determination, just wanting to learn the end, but not pleased that I felt compelled to keep reading only to satisfy my curiosity. I felt like I was being held hostage. If it hadn't been a Kindle book, I'd have hurled it across the room when I finished.