This book is sort of hard to put a label on.
It's a coming of age... about a girl who's already grown up.
About a good girl... who ditches class and makes out in cars.
About freedom... and the discovery that it isn't what it seems.
About good boys and bad boys... and the fact that there's no such thing.
About loving someone... and being scared of them.
About wanting something to be gone... and then missing it when it is.
I can't even explain this book in a way that doesn't sound contradictory and complex. And this book was both of those things, but I promise it's not as confusing as my description sounds.
A recurring theme in this book is the idea of freedom. Daisy and her parents are prisoners (her words, not mine) of the responsibility of looking after her severely autistic brother, Steven, who is a prisoner of his own mind. He can't be left alone, he can't talk, can't tie his shoes or shower or eat or walk down stairs without help. The constant weight and exhaustion of watching Steven causes strain on Daisy's parents' marriage, and, because of how much they have to do for Steven, Daisy feels like a third parent. Her dad always works late to avoid being in charge of Steven and her mom goes to yoga three nights a week, leaving Daisy to deal with a big, strong, and uncontrollably violent brother who is unable to understand or feel guilt for what he does.
Daisy talks multiple times about being a slave in her own home. A slave of Steven, a slave of responsibility, a slave of her parents who dictate her schedule so they can take a break from Steven. She longs for freedom, and in the search for it, gives in to her crush on "bad boy" Dave Miller. She tries to be rebellious and show her parents that they can't make decisions for her. She thinks skipping class and avoiding home will bring her freedom. She thinks she wants freedom from Steven, but what she learns is that she really wants Steven to have freedom from his own mind.
This was a really good book about what family means, and where chasing freedom will get you. It was nice to get a perspective on autism that isn't usually heard, and I thought the character of Daisy had several layers. I kind of wish we'd seen more of those layers, though. I got the feeling that the author didn't dig as deep into Daisy as she could've. This book should've made me cry, but it didn't. I just wish we'd gotten a little more emotion in the story. But I did really like. Although, I wasn't the biggest fan of Dave... Find this at Ames Public Library