a three point five (maybe even a four) (i cannot decide!)
Well, now... for a while there I thought this sequel wasn't going to hit the same high notes that the first did. I was wrong, it only took one or two chapters before I got into the flow of things to recall why I was so engrossed by the first book as much as I was.
For those expecting happily-ever-after's in this, this isn't exactly just that. Recall the frustration felt over a friendship unraveling; then, recall the giddy feel over Cricket and Zach, and the shifting in their paths: from him as that one other familiar thing tied to her past, to him being her something else. I gnashed my teeth for her over the first, then sighed (and sighed some more) over the second.
Yet, this sequel one is more than Cricket falling in love or even her clinging to memories of 'when it was good' as she had in Blue; Red has her opening herself to more than one hard truth: that what's good doesn't always stay so; that what's bad can shift and even be set aside; and that what she needs doesn't necessarily aline with what she wants (or vice versa). But more it's her outgrowing certain high school fancies and drama's and just growing up with it becoming clearer to her that things (the good or the bad, as well as what she wants and what she needs) aren't set in stone.
There's growing here -and I loved that- not just by her, as they ALL allow things and issues to shift around- either allowing something else/new to happen or getting back some what used to be. It's to this end that I'm torn: this sequel starts with an ending of sorts; it's this ending that opens multiple possibilities to her- her, questioning the authenticity of what she and Zach had; her and another and that tentative reconnection (that wasn't exactly a reconnection); her and her goals and setting after the same; the culmination of all said with her then her ending up in roughly the same spot she'd found herself at the beginning of Blue, only here she's more bruised by certain developments yet still tentatively open to other things.
Which brings me back to where I'm torn--- despite all the sad and sadder going on for her, things went on. Sad is not the end of the world for her... because along with the said, came the new: EXCEPT there's this too perfect way things unfold. The depressing is eventually (always) balanced out by some new thing, some new development that has Cricket proving time and again that she is a good girl, (here, prone to mistakes,) but a good girl nonetheless. It's not supposed to be a negative but I kept coming back to how too perfect, too 'right' it felt.
Now set aside my nitpicking, and I will say: I enjoyed this story. Mainly because she grows up- they all do. And it's them experiencing first hand, that their roles are not set; that things and people can and do shift about... and it's in that aspect where there's truth.
Thank you, NG!