THANK YOU TO NETGALLEY AND DIVERSION BOOKS FOR SENDING ME A COPY OF GARDENIA FOR REVIEW, ALTHOUGH ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.
Genre: Teens & YA
Seventeen-year-old Ivy Erickson has one month, twenty-seven days, four hours, fifty-nine minutes, and two seconds to live.
Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been able to see countdown clocks over everyone’s heads indicating how long before they will die. She can’t do anything about anyone else’s, nor can she do anything about her own, which will hit the zero hour before she even graduates high school.
A life cut short is tragic, but Ivy does her best to make the most of it. She struggles emotionally with her deep love for on-again, off-again boyfriend Myers Patripski. She struggles financially, working outside of school to help her mom and her sister. And she struggles to cope with the murder of her best friend, another life she couldn’t save. Vanessa Donovan was killed in the woods, and everyone in town believes Ivy had something to do with it.
Then more girls start disappearing. Ivy tries to put her own life in order as she pieces together the truth of who ended Vanessa’s. To save lives and for her own sanity.
The clock is always ticking. And Ivy’s only hope is to expose the truth before it runs out completely.
I’m sure you can guess that my favorite aspect of this book was the fact that Ivy can see countdown clocks over peoples heads, ticking down the seconds until their deaths. Ivy has always been able to see these clocks but didn’t fully understand her condition until as a young child she saw her grandmother have a heart attack and die in front of her. This was Ivy’s first experience with the clocks, and with death.
Ivy as a character really irked me sometimes. She volunteers at a nursing home, presumably so she can spend time with people who are almost at their last moments of life. She obviously wants to give them a good send off and a better death. Yet, she’s seen her best friend Vanessa’s clock counting down their entire lives and doesn’t try to intervene. She knows exactly when Vanessa will die, only a few short months before Ivy’s own death, and yet doesn’t even attempt to change fate. I find this particularly unbelievable but I understand it was necessary to the story line. If any of you out there has lost a best friend or family member, you know you’d do absolutely anything to prevent their deaths. As far as I’m concerned Ivy never truly knew if someones destiny was set in stone. I’d give my own life for the people I love and this part of the story really drove me nuts. You can’t be thoughtful and caring as a character and stand back while your best friend is obviously going to die.
I noticed about halfway through the story I was extremely confused about which character was which. I think all the characters or suspects should have been fleshed out more in the beginning of the novel rather than later. It makes it a lot more entertaining while reading a mystery to really get to know the people and their motives early on in the book. With that being said, the ending and ultimately when we find out who the killer is fell flat. Through the process of elimination there was really only one person it could be. I would have been okay with that if the killer had an actual motive. For me the story really centered around the clocks and Ivy closing her chapters with everyone she loves before she dies. I think the theme of this part of the book was beautiful and the way Ivy talks about time you really have to think to yourself how much time you are wasting. You never know what could happen and I’d never want to pass away without the people I loved knowing I cared for them and I was happy. The part of the book I didn’t like was the mystery. It really was very bland and not thought out.
Did I like this book? Absolutely. This was a quick one day read for me and pulled me out of a massive reading slump. I stayed up until 3 A.M reading because I had to know if my predictions about who the killer was correct. While there is definite problems with the story, I do recommend it to anyone who seems remotely interested. I did enjoy reading this I just wish it had been a little bit more developed in the mystery area. I give this book huge credit for getting me out of that dreadful reading slump. I really needed something fast paced and intriguing. This did the trick for me.
One last honorable mention to the character Miranda Raspberry for being a complete doll.
P.S – trigger warning for anyone who deals with or has dealt with self harm or suicidal thoughts. While I appreciate this book not shying away from mental illness, I just want to warn other readers before they dive in.