Enjoyment: 9. I couldn’t stop reading, I was drawn into the family and I had to know what was going to happen next. I really liked seeing the arc and growth of Leni’s life, and I really appreciated that she was able to find Matthew in the darkness that her parents trapped her in.
Style: 8. I actually switched to the audiobook after chapter 4. I felt like I need to get to the story quicker than I could read it. Reading it felt like it was dragging too slow.
Characters: 10. I really loved Leni, I felt very connected to her. I also really understood Cora as well as Ernt. I thought the author did a really good job flushing out these characters and showing readers who they are. All of the characters really.
Atmosphere: 10. The descriptions of the Alaskan wilderness were so beautiful. They make me want to go, I can vividly see what the Albright’s cabin looks like. There was alos one moment where Leni describes seeing a dog collar up high in a tree, like a hawk had dropped it on the way to it’s nest, that stands out vividly in my mind.
Plot: 9. I really liked the overall arc and journey of the story. I don’t think we were given any unnecessary information or scenes, they all added depth to the story. I did have to go back a few times and just re-adjust to the time jumps, but I think that’s totally fine and they are necessary for the story to work.
Pacing: 8. Like I said I did end up having to switch to the audiobook because I felt a sense of drag. I don’t know how much of that is me or the story. This is definitely a character driven novel up until the last 100 or so pages. And while I normally really love and appreciate character drive work, when I’m also spending a lot of time reading technical stuff for school I need a little more action in my physical reads or I find myself not picking up the book. I also think I’m trying to fight off a reading slump right now so that’s not helping.
Ending: 10. So this one was tough… I appreciate when a book doesn’t necessarily have a happy ending. It takes a lot of guts for an author to do that because a lot of readers will be upset. I thought that’s where this book was headed. I felt like having Matthew miraculously recover would be too easy. But man have I never been so happy to be wrong! I wanted so desperately for Leni to have the love and happiness that having Matthew back would bring and I didn’t care if it didn’t seem likely. She deserved it dammit! I’m super thrilled with how this book ended. I also really enjoyed Leni’s My Alaska essay at the end. So while part of me questions and feels a little like ‘this is too good to be true’, the other part doesn’t care and what happy endings. It is fiction after all so anything could happen.