*I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. This has not influenced my review.*
I loved how this book felt so realistic and genuine in terms of the characters’ struggles and imperfections. They were a bunch of teens dealing with real teen problems—fitting in, figuring themselves out, being bullied, feeling upstaged by siblings, not being understood by parents, needing breaks from all the pressure, struggling with mental illness, having financial problems, having difficulties with school, not knowing what to do with their futures, etc.
They were also a bunch of teens who were good people—maybe not perfect, but not judgmental or mean either. The main character was a relatable one, especially for LGBT+ teens. But honestly, I think a lot of people could find something to relate to in this book. Wouldn’t everyone who’s ever felt misunderstood or judged or like an outsider love to find a place like Everland where you can just be yourself and have time and space to work through your thoughts and feelings away from the struggles of real life? This book was all about figuring out who you are, learning to accept yourself even if some people never will, coping with life’s difficulties, and realizing that even people whose lives look perfect have their own struggles you don’t even know about.
This was also just an easy book to sink into. There was tension and a bit of an ominous feel as the story went on, and I wanted to know what was going to happen, both in Brody’s personal life and with Everland.
This book was more contemporary YA than fantasy, which is not something I normally read, but it had relatable and diverse characters, a story that kept me reading, some great messages, and some touching, bittersweet moments that made me tear up a bit. I enjoyed this, and I think it would be especially great for teens.
Anyone who likes YA, imperfect but good characters, and books that deal with life's difficulties in a poignant way.