Everything You & I Could Have Been if We Weren't You & I
by Albert Espinosa
I went into this book blindly, knowing nothing about it except that the author was the same guy who created a TV show that I really enjoyed (Red Band Society) and yet, somehow, even though I went into it not knowing anything about it, it still wasn't quite what I was expecting.Summary: Can you imagine a future where everyone has given up sleeping?
From the creator of the television series Red Band Society and author of the international bestseller The Yellow World comes this uniquely special novel.
What if I could reveal your secrets with just a glance? And what if I could feel with your heart just by looking at you? And what if --in a single moment-- I could know that we were made for each other? Marcos has just lost his mother, a famous dancer who taught him everything, and he decides that his world can never be the same without her. Just as he is about to make a radical change, a phone call turns his world upside down.
The book was wonderfully odd but I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I thought I would have. The writing was good -- the writing hooked me from the first page really, but the rest of it fell a little flat.
I didn't like the main character much, I'm not sure why exactly, I just found it incredibly difficult to care about him or empathise with him or feel any sort of connection to him at all (same with the other characters, none of them felt fleshed out, they were just like furniture -- just there). I wasn't fond of the stuff about his mother either. Perhaps because it didn't come across like grief or love, it just seemed like an unhealthy obsession he had that was verging on creepy and, worst of all, it always seemed to derail the rest of the story because he'd go off on these boring tangents about her all the time.
The plot was unusual and there were things about it that I found really interesting (like the sleep thing) but when you combined all the individual plot elements it just seemed like this strange mash-up that didn't quite work. Instead of making one thing the focus and doing it well, it tries to cram in too much and the effect is a disjointed story that doesn't flow particularly well or have the depth it could have (should have) had given the subject matter.
The ending (and I mean the very end, the last page) was good, I did like the twist, but it wasn't enough to make up for the other stuff.
Overall, I did enjoy the book but it was more for the writing than anything else -- Albert Espinosa has wonderful writing, the kind that has me marking down quotes as I'm reading, but the story and the characters fell a little short of the mark for me. I'd rate it 2.5 stars out of 5 (if I had to round it, I'd round it up to 3).