To me it is a complicated plot, that unravels itself toward the last few chapters of the novel.
Frances Robinson tries to forget her birth Mother, who suffocated her three younger sisters. Frances was able to escape her Mother's crazy doings. Frances is eighteen years old , and tries to forgive her Mother but she cannot forget her past. Nelson writes with compassion, and sensitivity. This novel may disturb the reader. This novel is basically about the ties that connect with our families, and our innermost secrets we hide in our families. Many who read the novel, think Frances and Nix are the most interesting personalities in the novel. Frances with Nix's help was determined to reach where her Mother was. They both had stamina, and determination to follow their goal. I recommend this novel to any teen. It is a good novel, and also has a good message.
My thoughts. Frances was haunted by the demons that possessed her mother, for her entire life. Her adopted parents would not talk about her past or let her talk. A stranger calling himself a lawyer gives her a letter supposedly written by her mother, supposedly in a half-way house now that her psychosis is under control. The letter gives Frances the idea of finding her mother and trying to lay demons to rest but does not reveal the location of her mother. Nix is the new guy in school and looking for friends when he meets very introverted Frances. He agrees to help Frances visit her past and find her mother. I didn't think any one's motivations were clear. I did not like these characters. I never got a sense that the story was leading to a deadly confrontation as it did about 20 pages from the end. There is a bit of a romance between Nix and Frances but it never quite gets off the ground because of France's haunted past. Frances's mother suffered from postpartum depression/psychosis. There have been several instances in the news of mothers killing their children while suffering, apparently to save the children from the very demons that were controlling them. JDW 9/19