Lochan and Maya depend on each other. Their mother is useless: immature, constantly drunk, and determined to forget that she actually has five children. There's very little money to spend on things like groceries and electricity. School is stressful, but they have to be very careful to make it seem like everything is just perfect, because any notice from any officials could mean that the kids are split up and put into foster care. As the two oldest children, Lochan and Maya need each other. But as their relationship grows closer, it becomes clear that they love each other not just as brother and sister, but as lovers, too.
The book will likely draw comparisons to Flowers in the Attic (older siblings taking care of younger ones, a mother who abandons them, the incest), but it's not a V.C. Andrews rip-off. It's not scandalous for the sake of being scandalous. A lot of work is done grounding Lochan and Maya so that it makes sense when they do make this jump to a different kind of relationship. I think I got more of a sense of Lochan as a character than Maya, and even though the story is split between the two perspectives, it felt to me like it was his story. The book is quite long, so there's a fair amount of "I want to do this/we shouldn't do this/can we do this?/we can't do this/can we do this?/no we can't/well, maybe we can." I don't think anyone would go into this book expecting a happy ending (what would a happy ending even be?) but rather to see just how the story plays out. This is definitely a book worth checking out.
(And is it just me or does anyone else see a Biblical crown of thorns in the barbed wire heart?)
I received an advanced copy through the S&S Galley Grab.
See more about the Book at Simon & Schuster.
Find it at Amazon.
Read it with:
Illyria by Elizabeth Hand
Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving
The Kiss by Kathryn Harrison