I want to preface this review with saying: when I wasn’t really reading much for pleasure, I was always reading Jodi Picoult. Every time I went into the library or the bookstore, I would check to see if she had a new title. I’ve read nearly all of her backlist, some of them twice, and always appreciated the way she approached heavy topics in tender, eye opening ways.
But this book, as a whole, didn’t work for me.
There were some things I liked:
–> I read 75% of the book via audio and the last 25% in print. I loved the audio narration. Marin Ireland never disappoints for me!
–> I really enjoyed the imagery. The Galapagos sounded absolutely breathtaking.
–> The mental illness representation in Beatriz’s character was super raw and important.
Now, on to what I didn’t like (and mild spoilers if you haven’t read it):
I found Diana to be absolutely dreadful. There was nothing about her character that appealed to me. Her actions were insensitive and selfish, and she spent way too much time emphasizing her “life plan” in the beginning, only to flip at the end when she decided that Finn, the man who stood by her side and helped her regain her health, was “not the person” she wanted to fulfill that life plan with. Like, what? You were so concerned about fulfilling this grand plan that you didn’t care that you got his feelings wrapped up in it, had him fall in love with you, only for you to flip the switch when you realized you didn’t love HIM, but you loved the plan? Oof, that made me so mad. Finn was the best character in this book and Diana tried hard to make him seem awful through her eyes, but it didn’t fool me.
Secondly, this whole “it was all a dream” trope has got to go. It wasn’t super surprising to a Picoult fan that has read all the books, but in this case, I found it to be insensitive and eye roll worthy. Because it “wasn’t real”, there were some really heavy topics addressed in the first half that were suddenly, poof, unimportant. Sooo, what about Beatriz and her mental anguish? What about her relationship with her dad after feeling so betrayed by him? We were expected to finish the book without these characters that we spend the first 50ish% getting attached to, and it was just not fair.
All in all, I did not appreciate the way this one played out or the execution of it. It felt jumbled and rushed at best. While I do think I will read more of Picoult’s work in the future, this isn’t one I would recommend. I would recommend My Sister’s Keeper or The Pact for someone that wants a book that pulls at their heartstrings, not this frustrating one.
While I didn’t love this one, I am in the minority of readers, as the book has over 93k reviews on Goodreads and over a 4 star rating. If you want to give the book a try, please consider using one of the following affiliate links to Amazon or Bookshop.org when purchasing. It gives me a small commission at no cost to you!