We Were Restless Things

Sourcebooks/Fire. Oct. 2020. 416p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781728216591.
Gr 9 Up–Link Miller drowned in the forest where there was no lake. His death is unexplainable to everyone except Noemi Amato, who has seen the impossible lake that seems to only appear for her and once for Link. Now, from the grave, Link is sending Noemi messages through text, warning her of the danger that lies within the forest. Told through the alternating perspectives of Noemi, her new housemate/love interest Jonas, Link, and Link’s sister Amberlyn, multiple plot lines slow down this magical realism story. The mystery of Link’s death becomes almost forgotten as Noemi develops a relationship with Jonas, who is dealing with Noemi’s revelation of her asexuality. Amberlyn goes back and forth between the grief over the loss of her brother, and her budding relationship with her new girlfriend. There is also an additional story line of Link’s best friend experiencing abuse at the hands of his stepfather. The story concludes with a twist that will leave some readers disappointed. Too many story lines lead to not enough time given to thoroughly delve into each plot thread.
VERDICT A promising start that fizzles towards the middle. A secondary purchase for collections in need of magical realism.

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