I remember standing in Wal-Mart reading the prologue to this novel, and feeling chill bumps break out on my arms. I bought it on the spot, and decided to take a chance.
I read this book slowly, in order to savor it. Brashares writing is...so graceful. Every word feels like a gift she is offering to her readers, something to be unwrapped, observed, enjoyed, and lingered over lest you miss some nuance or emotion invoked.
The story itself is haunting, and I thought about the characters and the tale for a few days after finishing this book. I fell in love with the lead male, Daniel, and I could identify with the main female, Lucy. She was likable and imperfect, and so was he, and they felt real because of those attributes. The story could have fallen short of the mark, between the huge subject Brashares was tackling, and the added challenge of the chapters moving between the distant past and the ever-intense present; instead, it soars triumphantly toward an ending that had me on the edge of my seat.