A resonant debut novel about retreating from the world after losing everything—and the connections that force you to rejoin it.
Since the night of the crash, Wren Wells has been running away. Though she lived through the accident that killed her boyfriend Patrick, the girl she used to be didn’t survive. Instead of heading off to college as planned, Wren retreats to her father’s studio in the far-north woods of Maine. Somewhere she can be alone.
Then she meets Cal Owen. Dealing with his own troubles, Cal’s hiding out too. When the chemistry between them threatens to pull Wren from her hard-won isolation, Wren has to choose: risk opening her broken heart to the world again, or join the ghosts who haunt her. (from GoodReads)
I think the title and cover really reflect the novel - the setting is lovely, while grief is dark and deep. It's very indicative of Wren's state of mind through Lovely, Dark and Deep, a book which I'm happy to say I enjoyed very much.
Reading about a main character dealing with depression and loss is extremely tough, especially in first person. Amy McNamara does not hold back at all when depicting Wren's emotions and her coping methods for dealing with the accident. Wren's reaction to Patrick's death is to draw back from everyone and she goes on long runs to clear her head. Since Wren is going through so much, she comes across as selfish and annoying. She would not be someone I would want to live with. But, I thought her reactions were realistic, especially since everyone deals with death differently.
An important part of the story is Wren's love interest Cal. He has MS, making him just as "damaged" as Wren. Normally it would seem like two people with their own issues shouldn't start a romantic relationship, because they are both trying to heal. But in this case I thought they were good for each other. Cal grounded Wren and gave her purpose and helped to bring her back to life.
Even though the plot of Lovely, Dark and Deep is pretty slow, the 300+ pages fly by. I was actually surprised when I got to the end because I could have kept reading longer. The setting really makes this novel - and I would never guess that the dark winter of Maine would be appealing at all. I don't like the cold, but the brisk air and bare trees seemed like a metaphor for Wren's feelings, which was very appropriate.
Overall, I thought Lovely, Dark and Deep was a great study of how a person might deal with depression, and the ways in which they might heal, as well. If you're into angst, this is the novel for you!
Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: read on Pulse It
2012/Simon & Schuster/352 pages.