Monday, June 3, 2013

Miss Me Not by Tiffany King (review)

Young Adult, Drama, Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Publication.Date  November 23rd 2012
Published By:  Create Space
WebsiteTiffany King 

Miss Me Not on Goodreads
My review copy:Review copy purchased by me.
Where to get:

Miss Me Not is a beautiful story of self-discovery, forgiveness, caring, and love. 

Madison Hanson's past demons have given her a shadow of an existence with little hope. With the sudden tragic death of a fellow student, Madison questions her own life choices, and is now forced to evaluate everything she thought she believed in. When fate intervenes and partners her with Dean Jackson, a popular "all around good guy" from school, Madison gets a glimpse of a life that is filled with sunshine that has the power to break through the darkness she has cloaked herself in. 
With Dean's help, Madison discovers a desire to finally step out of the shadows, and embrace life and all its gifts.

People didn't enjoy being sucked into the shadows that were my constant companion. They wanted perky, cheerful and butterflies out the ass as they danced beneath rainbows and singing birds. They didn't want silence and darkness.
How do you know I'm not like that actress they're always mocking, the one whose expressions they claim never change? What's her name? Kristen Stewart.
In our own demented way, we were made for each other. He craved solitude while I felt solitude was a just punishment. 
"I'd help you. You know, tutoring and helping you study for exams."
"What is this, save-a-loser day?" I asked, making it clear I wanted the conversation to be over. "You're not a loser," he said, looking like I had offended him somehow. Someone at a nearby table shushed him. "I am, and guess what? I don't give a shit. Got me? I'm a nobody. You don't need to save me. No one does," I said. 
The plain and simple fact was everyone sinned. Either they were good at hiding their sins, or they weren't. I fell in the latter categry. My sins had been featured front and center, on display for everyone to judge.
Of course, now the normally perky, I-wish-it-was-legal-to-stab-them popular bunches were sobbing on each other's shoulders as if they had just heard that The Vampire Diaries had been cancelled. What a bunch of phony assholes.

     Miss Me Not is about many things. It's about love, friendship and trust. About past mistakes and how they can weigh us down. It's about self-punishment and atonement, about falling apart and trying to make things right again. Picking up the pieces. Allowing yourself to be happy again. It's about being judged by others and judging yourself. It's about loneliness and isolation (often times self imposed). It's about family and how having one can sometimes make you feel even more alone, more misunderstood and misjudged. Miss Me Not is about all these things, but most of all it is a beautiful and moving story of one girl's life changing journey to self-discovery and self-forgiveness. A journey that is just as dark and terrifying as it is inspiring and full of hope. 

     The excellent, deeply relevant plot line combined with Madison's raw and honest voice made for an all consuming read. I love the characters in this book, they are strikingly real, their stories - powerful, heartbreaking and touching. Within minutes I found myself completely immersed in the story. And I couldn't help but feel sorry for Madison. She was a wonderful character, magnificently fleshed out and believable. Tiffany King convincingly depicted her complex personality, showing both her emotional struggle and the reasoning behind her decisions. And the more we learn about her past - the bad choices she made, the family situation and what drove her to do the things she did - the better we understand her and the more we sympathize with her. 

     Madison is a girl who pretty much gave up on herself. When she was younger she did something that affected many people around her, something her mother never forgave her for. She's been paying the price ever since. Her family life is in ruins, her father moved away and her mother resents her. She became a social pariah, at first judged and hated, then slowly forgotten. A dark and silent wallflower girl, purposefully wearing ugly, baggy clothes and no makeup. She swore never to smile again, never let anyone touch her. Together with her only friend (if you can even call him that), they had plans to kill themselves. They had it all figured out. They wanted to silently slip away, leave without a single person noticing or missing them. But then something happened. A student at their school committed suicide before they got a chance to take their own lives. And that tragic incident changed everything..

     Despite the serious and heavy subject matter, the book's overall tone is actually very well balanced. The story is full of dark humor, sarcasm, bitter remarks and sass, and I just couldn't get enough of Madison's snarky personality. We do get a couple of sad and depressing moments, but for the most part Tiffany King keeps it pretty light. It's not an overly dramatic book designed to bring you down and turn you into a sobbing mess. It's a book that sends out a clear message: It's OK to make mistakes. Everyone deserves a second chance. Every person is special and there is always someone - at least one person - that will miss you when you're gone. No one deserves to be endlessly punished and tormented. It's OK to forgive yourself and try to move on. I thought that was a very inspiring and powerful message, thought-provoking and emotionally affecting. Something to remember and live-by.

      While I love how the story played out, I also wish that we got a chance to know Madison's friend, James, a little bit better. His story would make for a poignant and harrowing side-plot, and I wished Tiffany King had explored it more in depth. He was one of the saddest, most tragic characters I've ever seen in YA fiction, and I hope maybe one day Tiffany King will consider telling his story. 

     Getting to know Madison's mom would have been truly wonderful, too. I felt that we didn't get enough insight into her past. I wanted so badly to understand her better, to find out what happened to her that turned her into this cold, Church-obsessed monster of a mother. She was a very intriguing, strong character who added a very interesting flavor to the plot, I just wish a little bit more time was spent on developing her story.

     All in all, Miss Me Not is a truly wonderful book. One that should be read and cherished, and then shared with all your friends. This book will forever have a special place in my heart and I know that I'll be re-reading it over and over again. 

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