Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Seeing Through Stones | Rajdeep Paulus

I live in the in between. Between yesterday and forever. The way forward haunts me. The gap I must cover daunts me. And hope beckons, “Run to me,” but I just learned to walk.
After a lifetime of abuse, the Vanderbilt siblings flee their home, finally free to pursue new dreams while running from yesterday’s nightmares.
Once bed-ridden Jesse navigates the Chicago streets, concealing his identity and planning revenge. A chance encounter in the rain introduces a girl who offers Jesse a glimpse of a sunnier future, but how will he weather the growing storm inside himself?
Separated from her Post-it note prince, Talia hides at a safe house for survivors of domestic violence while her father turns the city upside-down to find her. Surrounded by women fighting their own demons, Talia faces her past at every turn.

Non-Spoiler Review

Seeing Through Stones is the sequel to Swimming Through Clouds, covering Talia's journey right where we leave off from the first book. In contrast to the first book, in Seeing Through Stones we get two different points of view, Jesse's and Talia's. I loved being able to see the difference in their thought process towards how to deal with their father. If you haven't read the first book, I completely recommend you check it out! Here's my review. Once you finish these books, come back so we can discuss!

Spoiler- Filled Review

I'm going to admit this book felt much slower than the first one. While Swimming Through Clouds focused on mostly building up the backstory of the characters by describing in graphic detail of the father's abusive actions, Seeing Through Stones focused more on the mental growth of each of the characters after running away. Talia and Jesse get separated and from the different point of views, we can see how each of them fare. 

It was really interesting to see Jesse's perspective, and honestly his anger surprised me. Throughout the book, he would have these intense urges to just kill his father, which are completely understandable, but still frightened me because we would never know when he would act upon these urges. He consistently went to the library to send threatening emails to his father from unknown emails, although I'm not completely sure what he was trying to accomplish. He seemed to be trying to scare his father into staying away, but all he was really doing was revealing his location. His relationship with Summer was also very cute. Again, it wasn't cheesy. Seeing her didn't make him instantly fall in love and want to suddenly become a better person. He didn't want to establish a life primarily for her. Her presence gave him a sense of normalcy, which pushed him to motivate himself. This aspect of self-motivation is really refreshing, especially in modern relationships where everyone is doing something for someone else. 

Interspersed with Jesse we had chapters with Talia's perspective; personally, those were my favorite. I enjoyed reading about Talia and how she grew within the safe house. Hearing her finally open up to all the women, and hearing all of their stories was so inspiring and heartbreaking. The most emotional part was when Talia was forced to move safe houses because her dad found out the location, and all the women were saying their goodbyes along with sincere comments like "You're so brave." Speaking of her dad, I honestly thought he was bluffing when he sent her those flowers. I thought maybe he sent every hospital/safe house the same flowers and the same note hoping to scare her wherever she was. Turns out I was wrong, and he actually did know where she was. 

Both characters have incredible growth throughout this book. Talia find the strength to stop running from her father and finally fight him to put him behind bars. And Jesse finds the motivation to do something meaningful with his life. Both of these characters together bonded together to fight their father. They both realized they didn't have to stay quiet anymore and they actually had a chance to win. 

Having her walk back to the safe house in the dark was just a sign of disaster. Thankfully Lagan was smart to constantly be texting her, so he was quick to act when she didn't respond. In a typically relationship, Lagan would have been considered as excessively clingy, but Talia needs "clingy", she needs that attachment, which is why their relationship works so well. 

Speaking of Lagan, there wasn't nearly as much of him in this book as I would have liked. His presence was always affecting at least one of the characters, through his post- its or his money, but he was barely physically in the book. The fangirl inside of me just wanted to see much more of him. 

Overall, I think I have a general problem with book endings. It always feels like there's something unanswered. The ending of this book didn't feel abrupt, it was ended at a good spot, but I felt as though some things were completely clarified. At the end the father mentioned that he hurt Talia and Gita to keep them safe, to make them look "damaged", but it was never completely explained why. Again I think there's something really fishy about his business, but it never was completely revealed. Also, there was a connection between Jada, a women from the safe house, and one of the cases her father had. But the connection was never solidified and the verdict of that trial was never known. 

Basically I just don't want this to be the last book. I need companion novels, maybe more sequels from other perspectives (Dad, Lagan, etc), maybe more in depth stories from the other women of the safe house. I just need more. I also want a happily ever after epilogue where Lagan and Talia are married and have kids, and both of them are wonderful parents because Talia refuses to be anything like her dad. *sigh* That's my formal request for more books. 

These were just a few of my thoughts while reading the book: