Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
I think it’s been said many times how Anderson has a talent for writing about really disturbing topics completely believably, so I won’t go into how amazingly well-written this book is. I loved the theme of art and trees throughout the book and thought the art teacher was a fascinating side character. I loved his relationship with Melinda. The one thing I did not like was how all the young women at Melinda’s high school banded together with her when the truth came out – not that I didn’t like that it happened, just that I think it reflected more of Anderson’s wishful thinking than how the world – especially the teenaged, high-school world – works. I also wasn’t sure if I was supposed to know what exactly happened at that party that made Melinda call the cops which of course broke it up, ensuring her social pariah status from Day 1 of high school, but I did know from the outset. I wonder if that colors how I experienced the book. While I was reading it, I was aware that I knew, but at the same time I couldn’t imagine anything else having happened. It would be interesting to talk to someone who didn’t know going in… Feel free to comment if that’s you!