Wednesday, May 22, 2013

(Review) He's Gone by Deb Caletti

Title: He's Gone
Author: Deb Caletti
Published: May 14, 2013 (Bantam)
Rating: Staying in Tonight
Format: Digital ARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss (Thanks!)
Summary: The Sunday morning starts like any other. Dani Keller wakes up on her Seattle houseboat, a headache building behind her eyes from the wine she drank at a party the night before. But on this particular morning, she’s surprised to see that her husband, Ian, is not home. As the hours pass, irritation shifts to worry, worry slides into panic. And then, the terrible realization hits Dani: He’s gone.

As the police work methodically through all the logical explanations, Dani searches frantically for a clue as to whether Ian is dead or alive. And, slowly, she unpacks their relationship: from its intense, adulterous beginning, to the grandeur of their new love, to the difficulties of forever. As the days pass, Dani will plumb the depths of her conscience, turning over and revealing the darkest of her secrets in order to discover the hard truth—about herself, her husband, and their lives together.
You guys! I did it! I read a book that wasn't young adult OR romance! Not that either of those things are bad, obviously, but it's always good to expand my boundaries every now and again. And what a book to expand with! Deb Caletti is one of my favorite YA authors, and this is her first venture into adult fiction. While it wasn't perfect, I am very glad I read it.

Deb Caletti's writing continues to astound me. She can use the most beautiful words that flow into each other in just the right fashion, but she can use them to say something so shockingly true and accurate. I took longer to read this book than I may have normally, because I found myself going back and re-reading sentences or passages that I particularly loved. And there were quite a few. I saved so many quotes from this book. Unfortunately, some were spoilery, so I won't be sharing them here. But if you read it, you can see them!

He's Gone was a little different than I was expecting. Yes, it's a mystery, but it is much more a look into Dani's head with a very stream-of-consciousness feel. You get to experience her thoughts and perceptions of everything going on around her, but it is broken up with clips of her history. You travel back in time in her memory to see how her relationship with Ian began and progressed. All through this, there is no sugarcoating. Caletti is straightforward about human failings, and I love her for it.

Unfortunately, there were a few things about this book that made it less than perfect. The main problem was that, due to the way it was written, the story got a little boring after a while. At certain points especially toward the end, I was ready for things to move forward, whether it be in Dani's memories or in the present, but they took a long time to do so. Also, the resolution was a little rushed and underwhelming, but I was also jarringly interrupted right at the climax of the book. So there is a possibility that this impacted my enjoyment of it.

Overall, He's Gone was definitely worth reading! Caletti was at the top of her writing game, there was excellent tension building regarding the mystery aspect, and it made me think. Being inside Dani's head was fascinating, especially toward the end of the book when doubt began circling around and she began to reach conclusions about herself, Ian, and the possibilities surrounding his disappearance.
...love at first sight is also disaster at first sight, only you don’t know it yet. You can’t know or hear it over the roar in your chest.

I want to understand it all, but my mind has its own instant off switch that’s tripped by lengthy explanations, instruction manuals, and rules to board games read aloud.

Fashion is a communication problem to solve, and I have enough trouble speaking with words, let alone footwear.

If reading counted as a sport, I’d be a gold medalist.

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