Being Sideswiped



23312692Grief comes in an abundance of shapes and sizes. Some people cry until their eyes are so red and puffy they can barely see the world in front of them. Others pretend nothing ever happened, move on with their day like today is every day. And some wear their grief like a coat, wrapped around their shoulders bearing that daunting weight of sole responsibility, regardless of its accuracy. There’s no right way to grieve. Psychologist might tell you otherwise, but as a person who has dealt with her fair share of grief I can tell you that’s a load of crap. We are born individuals, we have individual thoughts, therefore nothing will ever work the same for every person. This is especially true for Calla, the protagonist in Courtney Cole’s emotionally chilling novel “Nocte.”

Save me and I’ll save you…

My name is Calla Price. I’m eighteen years old, and I’m one half of a whole.
My other half– my twin brother, my Finn– is crazy. I love him. More than life, more than anything. And even though I’m terrified he’ll suck me down with him, no one can save him but me. I’m doing all I can to stay afloat in a sea of insanity, but I’m drowning more and more each day. So I reach out for a lifeline. 

Dare DuBray. 

He’s my savior and my anti-Christ. His arms are where I feel safe, where I’m afraid, where I belong, where I’m lost. He will heal me, break me, love me and hate me. He has the power to destroy me. Maybe that’s ok. Because I can’t seem to save Finn and love Dare without everyone getting hurt. Why? Because of a secret. A secret I’m so busy trying to figure out, that I never see it coming. 

You won’t either.

Before I jump right in to my likes and dislikes, let me tell you a little about Nocte – “the labor of love” first. For those of you that are first hearing about this book, it comes with an interesting backstory. The most notable being that Cole wrote it four different times in a vain attempt to make it more “easily palatable, softer.” Obviously, that didn’t work. And I’m rather happy that it didn’t. Some of the best literature out there is gritty, fills up the places inside you you had no idea were even empty. Evokes TRUE emotion. “Nocte” is a solid step in that direction. It highlighted the anxiety behind mental illness. Shone a light on the capacity for sibling connection. Reveled in emotions such as guilt, denial and heartbreak, and still managed to illustrate the power of love, trust and forgiveness. It is a powerful book. It’s so powerful that you won’t see it coming until you are elbow deep in a box of Kleenex and shouting at inanimate objects to “take it back!”

Honestly, there’s not a lot I can say about this book (plot wise) without giving it away, so I’m going to (attempt to)  steer this review in the opposite direction. I’ll say that it was slow in places. There were phrases and sentiments that were often overused. (“It’s like I know him already.” “It’s intimate and familiar.” “Melts my ovaries.”) Calla’s guilt is sometimes tiresome; Dare’s aloofness annoying. Finn’s journal is almost too much to take in sometimes, the rambling just a little too chaotic. (Though one can hardly blame her from a setting standpoint.) And Mr. Price’s inattention, was downright infuriating. BUT…all of these make sense at the end of the book. What you THOUGHT you were reading is only a figment of YOUR own imagination. The clues you so diligently piece together in your head…wrong, which makes all of the tiresome, annoying aloofness completely inconsequential. (Try wrapping your head around THAT one.) 

In short, for more than 80% of this book I was convinced that is was just “ok.” I was convinced that I had no real connection to the characters. Yes, they were interesting. Yes, the story had a bit of an edge to it, but it was nothing I hadn’t read before. And then the twist came and I found myself in a place I’ve rarely been. I was a total mess. Rivers of salty water streaming down my face faster than my mind could comprehend. This book, a book I was convinced was nothing more than a filler of time suddenly came to a life and I was sucked in without even realizing it. I was committed to these characters. Everything they felt coursing through their veins I felt as well. I became the embodiment of their suffering. 

By the end of the book I only had one complaint left. Cole chose to end her twisted tale on the edge of a cliff. I hate cliff’s. While one aspect of Nocte was cleaned up nicely, another was propelled in to action on the very last page. I may or may not have used my entire four letter word vocabulary when this happened. While I can appreciate Cole’s vision (making this into a series vs a one shot) I don’t necessarily agree with it. I loved what happened between the pages of Nocte and I have a difficult time envisioning a second book living up to the twist inside THIS novel. To me, the story felt complete…until the last two pages. Who knows though? Maybe Cole will surprise us all, and ride her new Lehane-ish writing style into a future filled with amazing, unforgettable stories. Maybe she will make me eat my words. I genuinely hope so. 

My final thought: If you are averse to cliffhangers, this one is a whopper…you might want to consider that before jumping in. BUT, if you enjoy unexpected moments, jaw-dropping reveals, and interesting characters. You might want to grab a copy. I turns out that the 4th time is actually the charm. (Aka: Mind Blown!)

Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: things are not always as they appear. 

Add it to your Goodreads shelf / Amazon wishlist

Rating Report
Overall: 4.3


About Misty

Your friendly neighborhood narcissist. I'm sarcastic, cynical and a bit cranky. I own a soap box so big that sometimes I have difficulty stepping down off of it, and I'm about 94% certain I have multiple personalities. I don't sleep enough, and I read more than any person should ever consider normal. I have anger management issues, especially when I'm stuck in traffic and I have an unhealthy obsession with my Kindle. I am a vampire lovin', zombie obsessed, book-in-hand, iPod freak. You either love me or hate me. You be the judge.