“People got sad after making all kinds of decisions. It didn’t mean the decisions were wrong. …sad and happy were things you lived with no matter which choices you made.”
By the author of the critically acclaimed Wild Awake, a beautiful coming-of-age story about deep friendship, the weight of secrets, and the healing power of nature.
It’s senior year of high school, and Annabeth is ready—ready for everything she and her best friend, Noe, have been planning and dreaming. But there are some things Annabeth isn’t prepared for, like the constant presence of Noe’s new boyfriend. Like how her relationship with her mom is wearing and fraying. And like the way the secret she’s been keeping hidden deep inside her for years has started clawing at her insides, making it hard to eat or even breathe.
But most especially, she isn’t prepared to lose Noe.
For years, Noe has anchored Annabeth and set their joint path. Now Noe is drifting in another direction, making new plans and dreams that don’t involve Annabeth. Without Noe’s constant companionship, Annabeth’s world begins to crumble. But as a chain of events pulls Annabeth further and further away from Noe, she finds herself closer and closer to discovering who she’s really meant to be—with her best friend or without.
Hilary T. Smith’s second novel is a gorgeously written meditation on identity, loss, and the bonds of friendship.
I go reading A Sense of the Infinite with no hint or expectations. I just know that I have to read it because Hilary T. Smith’s previous novel, Wild Awake claimed a lot of positive feebacks. And with that I just have to experience Smith’s works on my own.
Though the book started quite slow it eventually pick-up speed once I got the gig of Hilary’s writing. Coming from lots of fantasy reads before starting this one, Hilary’s words are a bit quiet and slow flowing. Though this is not uncommon for a contemporary read, I still feel some hold back while starting A Sense of the Infinite. I don’t have much idea where the story will goes but the title promise so much more.
“You’ll be amazed who leaves and who doesn’t, at the end of the day.”
The story is basically about growing up. It’s Annabeth journey to self-discovery – her friendships with Noe and her life as it happens. And as simple as that sounds Annabeth’s journey offers more than just a slice of teenager’s life. There are so many issues inside it – depression, suicide, eating disorders, teen pregnancy/abortion, rape are just few of them. With all that sometimes it feels contrived to have all of those things in one story or in one person’s life, but still the possibility of all those things happening exist somewhere and that is something I hope not to see in real life. Growing up doesn’t have to be that hard for anyone.
“People are like trees… They need one kind of food when they’re seedlings, and a different kind of food once they’ve been growing for a few year.”
Some of Annabeth experiences easily mirror our own experience. Her struggles are sometimes painfully relatable. Like her friendship with Noe which hit a nail inside me. I’ve been there a few times in my life. I lost friends and people I care, outgrow someone I thought will be forever part of my life. Those are part of growing up. I have learned to accept things I never thought I can accept. I moved on and continue to live my life. I’ve learned a lot from those experiences, they made me stronger, wiser, and so much more.
“The worst part of fighting is the moment you realize the other person is really hurting. It’s pretty impossible to keep going after that.”
I don’t agree in some of the things in this book but that doesn’t make them less real. Annabeth’s journey and the people around her not only represents real life struggles and experiences but also shows the choices we have in life. It’s not always dead end, sometimes we have to man up and pick a side. That even if we are hurting or lost, we still own ourselves to at least try.
A Sense of the Infinite is a story of self-development that easily mirror real life journey. With its realistic characters, and close to life experiences this book will surely touch readers heart and tugged some real emotions. It’s realistic, honest, and raw.
* This review is based on an advance readers copy I received courtesy of the publisher, HarperCollins International in exchange of honest opinion.