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Friday, April 10, 2015

Finding Purgatory by Kristina M. Sanchez

This new book by Kristina caught me off guard. I've been waiting for a new book by her (had my "inside information" one was coming, sometime soon) and as usual the synopsis doesn't matter just the name Kristina was enough for me to order it the day it was out. 

Granted it took me a week to get to it.. I actually had just two books before it - The two final books in the Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux, but with the Passover preparations and then becoming REALLY sick, it took me more than a WHOLE week to read these two. Well, here I am now finally with my sticky fingers all over my kindle :)

I read this book in one gulp. I did stop to eat and have a few conversations, but generally speaking, I started late evening and finished near 5 AM in the morning. I guess it shows how invested I was with the story which is a real surprise and no surprise at all. This book deal with one of THE big turn offs for me in books (and real life) pregnancies and kids. I can't blame the author or the book it dealt with something I find "not to my liking" but the beautiful thing about it, though I'm usually just NOT interested in books with these themes, I couldn't put this one down. 

I'm struggling here with what to tell you about the book since the synopsis (I read AFTER I had the book in my hands) says very little to prepare you to the enormity of the situations the two women find themselves in. It's angsty, but it wasn't done in a way I thought it OTT or teenagery (though one of the MC in 18 years old and still in High School [yeah, cringe..]. Everything that happened, the emotions expressed by, well, everyone! felt genuine and right. It was an impossible situation for two families (and friends) and everyone was entitled to be mad and hurting. 

Ani (Antigone) Novak had it all. She was married to Jett (Jethro), her amazing husband who loved her and their little daughter Mara dearly. Life generally couldn't be better for her, until they are both snatched away by a burglar who kills them both then commits suicide in front of her. It's the second time her life has taken away everything she had from her. The first time when she was 19 and her parents were killed in an accident. Though she had a little 3 years old sister, Victoria soon found an adopting parents and Ani found herself walking away.

Now, alone and can't stand to be near the family of the ones she lost especially not Jett's twin brother Ian, or his grieving mother. She couldn't be with her friends either. She couldn't be with all those people who knows her, knows what she had lost and look at her with those pitying eyes. 

After a very unlikely conversation she finds herself wondering where is her sister and is horrified to learn she WASN'T adopted, she was just thrown back into the system. Contacting Victoria's Social Worker Shane McCarty she learns very little more as he is very protective of her sister - everything she wants to know she needs to ask her sister directly, who though agrees to meet her, isn't very "friendly" to say the least, in Victoria's eyes, her sister abandoned her 15 years ago and dropping now out of the clear sky is too little WAY too late. 

Yet when Victoria, now Tori Kane to anyone who knows her, finds out she is pregnant she reluctantly turns to her sister for help. She just needs the money for an abortion. I would have taken the money and gotten rid of the thing really, but this is NOT how the story goes.. When Tori freaks out in the car outside the clinic, Ani offers to raise her sister's baby for her and for Tori to move in with her. 

That seems like a great solution right? Ani has a good job and means. She can help her sister out, she can have another baby, yet Tori's baby won't be Mara her little baby girl and as time goes by she is scared she won't be able to uphold her side of the bargain. She still struggles with the loss of Jett and Mara and while she desperately wants to have a relationship with Tori, for them to really be sisters, her offer, in the state that she is now, is impossible. Yet she agrees, hell, she offered! and now she can't let her sister down AGAIN. Not when it's obvious from every word Tori says she doesn't really trust her and expect Ani to betray her trust any second now. 

This story is about sisters, about families, lost yet found. It's about finding people to trust when life showed you there is no one really there. It was beautiful while being heart breaking. 

Yet, this story is not only about the two of them and their struggle into becoming a family again it also has a romantic side to it which was also mostly heart breaking because of the emotional state both Ani and Tori are in. Nevertheless they both find someone to care for them. I don't want to write "their HEA" because that's not what it is, and once you've read this one - and it IS a MUST read! - you'll get it. This book forms those new couples yet the story doesn't follow them as you would expect in a Romance novel which I don't really think this book is. I tagged it under "New Adult" and "Drama" because I think it's a coming of age for Tori and another sort of coming of grief for Ani. 

I loved the way both Tori and Ani changes throughout the story. Tori was just growing up I guess, but with Ani, she was coming to realize things about herself, and find her place in the world. 

Yet I do want to shout out a bit about the guys in this story. The McCarty brothers - Shane and Westin ("Wes, West, Westy, Anything but Westin" ;)) were both sweethearts. They both have a heart of gold and they both had an amazing influence on both girls. Ian, Jett's twin brother, was trying his best while dealing himself with the lost of his other half and while he wanted to understand and be there for Ani she wouldn't let him, because she was grieving and because he was Jett incarnate and yet not at all, just a face she recognizes that belongs to someone else. If he can barely look himself in the mirror how could she look at him and not feel her loss as if life is making fun of her pain. Last but not least Raphael (Raphe) Diego who while being only 3 years older than Tori is so much more mature and ready to deal with life. He has his little sad story yet I felt as though he was one of the most "put together" people in this story. Maybe aside from West. Oh West.. he was DEFINITELY my favorite of them all. I was amazed by every move he made. Some people you expect nothing from and they surprise you with every turn you make. 

So that's my review. But before I go I HAVE to quote Tori with how she explains the redundancy of her pregnancy to one of her close (and younger) friends:

“This is not a good thing. Babies suck. They cry, and they whine, and they poop, and they . . . cry. They suck. And they just get more sucky and needy as they grow up. Eventually, they become us. Come on. What would you do with us?”

Funny enough, I'm Ani's age (not our 18 years old Tori...) and I see it exactly as Tori does. Which is why I had my doubt in the beginning about NOT liking this book AT ALL. But it went through the window soon enough. I was sucked into this story and babies / kidies or not, it was amazingly written, sensitive while being heart crushing and then tender and beautiful with the best possible ending in my opinion. All I can really ask for is MORE by Kristina though I might have to beg for another one "baby free" ;)


Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 233 pages, 9-10 April 2015 / On GoodReads

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