10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac
Overview: Mac brings readers the story of Mave Glover. At sixteen, Mave has no interest in driving, crippling anxiety, and a brain filled with plenty of empty facts and stats about death rates and accident causes. She often scripts obituaries in her head when things go amiss, and she has a hard time just experiencing life. This is made even worse when her mother leaves for Hati with her much older boyfriend forcing her to take the Greyhound from her tiny Oregon town to her dad and her stepmother in Vancouver. Though she loves her stepmother and two younger brothers, with her stepmother pregnant and wanting a home birth and her father walking a precarious tightrope with alcohol and drug problems, six months seems like a forever long time to be cast away. While in Vancouver Mave rides the rollercoaster of current and past emotions, fears, and anxieties while also meeting new people to help her grow and work through her challenges. Overall: 4
Characters: 4.8 The characters were by far the best part of the book. Each was well crafted and fleshed out with plenty of dimension. In Vancouver, we see her father and his struggles, Claire dealing with raising a family and coping with her husband's problems while also giving Mave love and attention, and the boys who give Mave a much needed distraction. We also have her neighbors in the apartment next door and the girl from the ferry, Salix, who works to expand Mave's comfort zone.
Plot: 4 This is where the book irritates me. The plot that the reader is shown is well executed for the most part. Mave follows a logical growth path and it is shown in a constructive and honest way. Where this falls apart is in the last hundred pages or so. It is clear that the author starts rushing at that point and the anxiety, but not Mave's though, becomes tangible. I knew this was clearly not going to be given the time or pace it should when the birth, a major plot point yet only timed as the midway point of Mave's stay in Vancouver, comes in the last fifteen pages. The ending, and Mave's development, is far to rushed to be satisfactory. She suddenly makes leaps and bounds of progress inconsistent with her starting point or previous progress under the same conditions. With the story ending a day or two after the birth of Alice, the reader never learns anything more about Mave and Salix, whatever becomes of her mother and Reymond, and what happens to her Vancouver family. Overall, the first two-thirds was amazing but felt like an empty promise after finishing the book.
Writing: 4.2 Much like the plot, the first two-thirds was great and had me completely hooked. Mave was an engaging and immersive narrator- at the start of the book her anxiety was so strong and evident it started to tap into my own. Mave made me feel something and empathize with her until the story became rushed and sloppy. The beautiful storyline about Salix opening up Mave's world and getting her to release some of her anxieties could have been completely stunning, and readers do get an honest taste of that. It is clear that storyline was the intention, it was just hastily thrown together at the end and simply stated as if the author ran out of pages.