Sometimes I think that authors are trying too hard to be original and cutting-edge that they end up failing in the final product. This one of those books that "uniqueness" made the novel confusing and a general struggle to get through.
The book starts off with the revelation that something happens to Syd's sister, something she wished she'd been able to prevent and it all had to do with their next door neighbor Graham. Syd's fascinated by him because he's odd and she knows there's something off about him, whereas her sister Ally is falling in love with him. Graham, though, is odd. He's moved next door to these sisters because of something that happened in his last town, something that has caused him to lose his best friend and have a juvenile record. To deal with this, he has an interest in recording people - making a record of the world and selling these films online. When Syd learns the truth about these videos and the consequences of them, she knows she has to do something to protect her sister.
This novel is told through different narrators, a number of them foreshadowing that something awful happens to Ally. With the different narrators, my first observation was the contradiction of stories. It made me think about the saying how every story has three sides - his side, her side and the truth. I thought this book was just about finding the truth, but there was something else going on. The contradicting chapters, however, bordered on confusing. To be honest, I peeked at the end of the book and knowing the truth helped a little. It made the signs more obvious, but yet it also made other things more confusing - especially the final scene. With the revelation at the absolute end of the book, the sequence of events in the final scene make little sense. So if anyone could explain it to me, I'd greatly appreciate it. Aside from the twist and the creative storytelling, another thing that bothered me was the prevalence of drugs in this novel. Graham gladly talks about altering prescriptions and combining drugs. Syd is always smoking weed. While I understand this happens, in my eyes, there's no need to glorify it. It'd be one thing to say he did it or to say she was high, but the novel goes into details about what drugs to mix and what he's doing. I didn't feel as if it was necessary, but maybe I'm too much of an innocent to accept these things.
In the end, this novel was a struggle to get through for me. Since I found the storytelling confusing (sometimes it read like a novel, sometimes it felt like telling the events in a documentary), it was hard to get into this book. The story as a whole is interesting and intriguing, but I think it could have been told differently and would be more successful.