"Memory is a word that slithers away suddenly, darting faster than it should be able to move at all."
-Karen Rivers, Before We Go Extinct
I picked this book up on a whim one day while I was at the library, because the description sounded promising and I think the cover is spectacular. And I am so glad that I did. This book deals with teenage grief in a way that I haven't seen before; Karen Rivers' use of voice in the novel was really what brought everything together, making this a spectacular novel.
JC, who more commonly goes by Sharky due to his love of sharks, has been struggling ever since the death of his best friend, The King. With the speculation on whether or not the death was an accident and the constant media attention, JC spends hours alone, obsessing over shark documentaries and not talking to anyone. Desperate to help JC, his mom sends him off to a remote island in Canada to visit his dad, where he meets a girl and learns how to come to terms with the death of his best friend.
From the beginning, I could tell that this book was going to be a keeper just by the first line: "My foot is stuck in the toilet bowl in the closet-sized bathroom in the two-bedroom walk-up I live in with my mom on the corner about Alf's Bodega." From this line, we're immediately hit with JC's unique voice, a voice that carries the rest of the story. It accurately portrays JC's grief at the death of his best friend, his confusion at how to live and be happy again when your best friend is no longer there to share it with you. Through JC's character, we can see the five stages of grief, we can see him processing and coping with this tragedy, which would be amazingly powerful for any teenager going through a similar situation.
In addition to the voice, the plot isn't predictable, and all of the elements of the story work together to create something unforgettable. JC's story is definitely one worth sharing.