Books I’ve Loved: Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara

Lovely package my copy arrived in – thank you Amy! 

I loved this book. Wren is a great character, and her interactions with others are believable. She’s eighteen, spending a year after high school living at her artist father’s house in the Northeast. All she wants is time alone to process life as it was and is – two very different variations. At heart she’s a photographer, but she’s put away her camera. Seeing the world is painful, and she feels like there’s a false veneer she was led to believe all her life that has been stripped away.

Poetry is always just beneath the surface. From the title, I was a bit afraid Robert Frost would overshadow the story. But instead his appearance is a small one, with Larkin the poetry that Wren connects with as an extension of her own feelings. Poetry is not used as a gimmick or an easy spandrel. It is a realistic part of the world. Which is to say, it comes and goes at the moments when Wren needs the words.

Along with the setting and the use of the present tense, the poetry gives the book a feeling of suspension in time. This mirror’s Wren’s situation, and helped me to connect even more with her.

Wren’s in the process of grieving over a lost friend, but her experiences are also related to depression. McNamara’s writing provides a realistic window into how such an experience affects not only the person in the center of these emotions, but also everyone connected to her.

This is a big book, much thicker than most other YA novels on my shelf, but I never lost interest or felt the story flagged. This is one of those books that is a great companion, and I was sad to finish the story and place it on the shelf.

One last note: the cover art and binding are gorgeous.

*I received this book as a giveaway on Nova Ren Suma’s blog, 99 distractions.*

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