- The writing. I just love the way DeStefano writes. It's flowery and poetic, without feeling like cluttered nonsense (I'm looking at you Tahereh Mafi!!).
- Cecily. Cecily was the star of this book. Her development since the beginning of the series is impressive. I remember reading the first book and absolutely HATING her. She was annoying, mouthy, and naive. This book really illustrates how Cecily has been forced to grow from a girl into a woman and how, despite everything she has been through, she is still strong.
- The beginning. This book really hit the ground running. The first half of the book was well-paced, interesting, and compulsively readable. I could not put it down.
- Reed. I loved Reed with all his quirks and one-liners. Some of my favorites:
"Are you going to eat that, or submit it for fingerprint analysis?"
"She hasn't been eating," Reed says apologetically, "I tried waving a fork around her head and everything."
"Who knew the washing machine actually worked? I've been using it to store food."
- The abrupt, non-stop plot twists. I think the issue with the second half of this book was that DeStefano realized she only had one more book and she had too much she wanted to do with it. So, instead of splitting the story out into two or three more books, she made the decision to try to cram everything into 371 pages. While most of the plot twists were good at face value and I enjoyed the reappearance of many old characters, too much happens too quickly and it leaves the reader feeling disoriented.
He loves his madness the way a bird loves the sky.
We hope for things we may not get to see, and we hold on with both hands because it's one of the few things that can't be stolen from us.
There's a limit to how much living can be done in a life without freedom.
Sometimes we don't know how afraid we are until we've reached a strange door and we don't know what will be on the other side.
But we frightened him, us girls, with our intensity, the weight of our sadness and the sharpness of our hearts
We change so many times in our lives. We're born into a family, and it's the only life we can imagine, but it changes. Building collapse. Fires burn. And the next second we're someplace else entirely, going through different motions and trying to keep up with the new person we've become.
4 - Ultimately, the writing style and the characters are what won me over in this book. The large number of plot twists crammed into the second half of the book was a little disorienting and made the story feel rushed. I think it might have been better if this part of the novel was expanded into additional books, instead of trying to do too much in too few pages.