By L.K. Kuhl
Everlasting, by L.K. Kuhl, starts out well with an eerie phone call to Sophia, the story’s main character, from her former best friend Mandy. Mandy begs Sophia to spend the summer with her even though they haven’t seen each other in years, hinting that something has happened. Even though she immediately agrees, Sophia senses that something is off.
“I ignored the clamoring of my heart since I couldn’t reach in and slow it down.”
This line gripped me and drew me right into the story and this continued for the first half as Kuhl builds an intriguing, if not somewhat immature tale. I have no issues with her writing, if I was rating that alone I’d give it 5 stars, but it’s the development of the story, the path it takes that kept me shaking my head over and over again.
Sophia is a rising senior in high school, shy and lacking confidence. She’s never had a boyfriend, at least not one to speak of, and she’s eager to find love. She tells the readers early on that she doesn’t believe in love at first sight, that “you need to know a person first, take it slow, and let love build on its own”. This made me fall in love with her instantly, which I know is irony at its best. Unfortunately, as the story goes on I found myself liking Sophia less and less, proving that falling in love instantly is never wise.
As Sophia spends her summer with Mandy on the beach in South Carolina, she can’t help but notice strange occurrences. Mandy hasn’t talked to her family in a long time and is living on her own, despite still being in high school. She’s engaged to be married. She fluctuates between being happy and so angry she scares Sophia. Sophia hears music while in her room that she can’t account for and smells that have no source. Then there’s Tate who Sophia…falls instantly in love with, but is clearly hiding something. And while she’s falling in love she’s also seeing frightening, black-robed, red-eyed beings that appear to her and no one else.
This was a mystery that intrigued me, but in the end it fell flat and felt contrived. As Sophia works to unravel what it going on around her, the clues in her wake don’t ring true. For example, something that doesn’t ring true as she waits on pictures of her nephew, born while she’s been away, but every time her mother mails them they’re returned because the address Sophia gives her doesn’t exist. This would be great if it was 1993, but it’s 2014 and I can’t get past why her mother doesn’t just text or email them. If I’m a young adult reading this book I won’t be able to connect, because let’s face it, social media and the internet are a huge part of any teenager’s life. Even if her mother isn’t computer savvy, her brother is and just like my niece had pictures of her newborn on Facebook the day her daughter was born so would Sophia’s brother. This type of thing happens over and over (which I won’t mention at risk of spoiling the book) and it’s too bad because, as I said, Kuhl has talent.
In the end I couldn’t connect with Sophia because I just didn’t like her. She fell in love too fast (twice), was cruel to someone who didn’t deserve it, and worked to not let go of someone she loved even though it would have been better for him. I felt that the story got away from itself and felt socially irresponsible at times (people turn into evil ghosts if they kill themselves-how will anyone who has had a loved one commit suicide react to that?) and it ended in a cliffhanger, so there wasn’t any resolution, just more questions.
I received this book from the author in exchange for honest feedback.
2 stars for Everlasting. Heat level: 0.5
Everlasting was published by Clean Reads in February 2016.
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