When seventeen-year-old Georgia’s brother drowns while surfing halfway around the world in Australia, she refuses to believe Lucky’s death was just bad luck. Lucky was smart. He wouldn’t have surfed in waters more dangerous than he could handle. Then a stranger named Fin arrives in False Bay, claiming to have been Lucky’s best friend. Soon Fin is working for Lucky’s father, charming Lucky’s mother, dating his girlfriend. Georgia begins to wonder: did Fin murder Lucky in order to take over his whole life?
Determined to clear the fog from her mind in order to uncover the truth about Lucky’s death, Georgia secretly stops taking the medication that keeps away the voices in her head. Georgia is certain she’s getting closer and closer to the truth about Fin, but as she does, her mental state becomes more and more precarious, and no one seems to trust what she’s saying.
As the chilling narrative unfolds, the reader must decide whether Georgia’s descent into madness is causing her to see things that don’t exist–or to see a deadly truth that no one else can.
The main thing that drew me to the book was, of course, the fact that it was a psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator. While an unreliable narrator can be quite frustrating, especially if the author doesn’t wrap up the things properly, this one kept me intrigued till the final page. Georgia has schizophrenia, which means unless she is medicated, she can suffer from paranoia, delusions and hallucinations. Until her brother dies, she lives a semi-normal existence – she works as a baker, doesn’t have many friends, loves her brother, is generally neglected by her parents. When he dies, things change – she feels like the meds are keeping her from feeling everything, and is not letting her mourn her brother’s death probably.
Enter Fin, her brother’s charming friend who has decided to settle in town. He is generally liked by all, and Georgia also falls for him. She is, however, dejected when he goes for her brother’s girlfriend. Simultaneously, she is also weaning herself off her meds. So, the feelings of jealousy and paranoia start arising and she feels Fin is trying to settle himself into her brother’s life. As she is chasing down leads to prove this, she descends further into her delusions. Each conversation and interaction becomes suspect to the reader, because you can’t trust whether what she sees is real. Her conversations with Fin, though seemingly unreal, have a quality distinct from her delusions. Her friend and family are more concerned about the harm she might cause than actually listening to her or giving her a safe place to speak up.
The mystery was pretty good, and the writing kept the suspense alive. In terms of character, her psychosis is brought out vividly. Her pain at not having access to her feelings, the freedom she gets when she lets go of them, and the dangerous delusions she is under. Moral of the story – don’t get off your meds, they are good for you – but do find a second opinion if you can!
Received a free galley from Algonquin Books via Netgalley; this does not influence my opinions or the review.