by Alice Hoffman

Book, 2016



Call number




New York, NY Simon & Schuster, 2016


Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend's future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt. What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion--from dark suffering to true happiness--a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls--including an angel who's been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member AmaliaGavea
"In February,when the snow comes down hard, little globes of light are left along Route 110, on the side of the road that slopes off when a driver least expects it. The lights are candles set inside paper bags, surrounded by sand, and they burn past midnight. They shouldn't last for that amount of
Show More
time, but that's part of the miracle."

There's a heat wave all over Greece at the moment I'm writing this review. I don't like summer and heat, I want to live in a place of eternal winter. Also, bright sun changes my mood and character completely and in this review, you'll probably see me obsessively describing my incoherent thoughts on how easily and readily I gave my heart to this book. It is one of the rarest of cases when I couldn't stop myself from reading the last chapter when I reached about 80% mark. I just wanted to know. This is how deeply I feel in love with Hoffman's novel.

After a horrific car accident, Shelby's life changes dramatically. She gives up on her dreams, she punishes herself in all ways imaginable and chooses to escape to New York. Not to start anew. She cannot do that yet, because she doesn't believe she is able or even worthy of a good life. She believes she's a nobody, a nothing, a monster. She practically begs for other people to see her this way. But they don't. Because some of us have faith.

The title is extremely poignant and well-chosen. "Faithful" to whom? To what? My answer is to everything. This is the reply I got from the book. To people, to a higher power, but most of all, to ourselves. It is the amount of faith in our abilities and value we gain through the children's love, through the animals' trust. Here, Shelby starts finding her way out of the darkness the moment people start trusting her. They have faith in her and she begins to look at herself under a different light. After trust comes faith and then love follows closely.

Love lies at the centre of the novel, along with faith. Love between a mother and a daughter. Love between a couple (beautifully depicted in Shelby and James). Love between friends, between animals and humans. Love that is firmly rooted in the past or the kind of love that comes out of nowhere, sweeps you off your feet and helps you find yourself a little sooner than you'd think possible.

"As evening falls, the wet street glows as if sprinkled with diamonds...There are bats in the tower of a church overlooking a small park. There's a sprinkling of gold -trigged stars in the sky.

What is it with stories and New York? What is it about this city that makes everything so poetic and special? Why does it turn me into a romantic? I don't know...I fell in love with Hoffman's descriptions of the city. They're marvellous, especially the ones about the evening streets. You'll also find a few but extremely poetic images of the Hudson.

There are certain well-placed hints of magical realism, with the postcards of an angel and Helena's supposed healing abilities. I think they're there to remind us that sometimes magic sometimes and beauty lies within our daily routine, within difficult choices, within the past. The narration is written in the present tense which is probably my favourite technique and it fits the story perfectly. And if by now you haven't been convinced that the writing is impeccable, I don't think I can trust you...

I read that it took Hoffman ten years to write Faithful and this definitely shows in the way the story is tightly put together, in the characters that are fully developed, in the interactions that are realistic and vivid. Dogs have a very prominent role in the action and Hoffman even manages to include references to Poe's Nevermore and to Gaiman's Neverwhere. I mean, come on...This is perfection.

Shelby is one of the most beautiful, most memorable characters out of all the books I've ever read in my life. You'll support her, get frustrated by her, cheer for her to succeed, cry and laugh. You will embark on an exciting journey. Call me superficial but James was...if he doesn't make your heart melt, if you don't fall in love with him as soon as you meet him on the page, then I believe you're heartless beyond repair. (Also, if the book is ever made into a film, I want Jonathan Tucker for the role. I don't know why but I pictured him as I was reading.) Ben, on the other hand, is irritating, a crying self-absorbed infant, competing with Shelby's father for the award of the most annoying character in the novel. To be fair, he has a few redeeming qualities, but I don't want to be fair today, I want to be emotional. See what this book did to me?

None of us wants to make even the tiniest mistakes, but this is impossible. We're human beings. Even gods make mistakes and quite big ones. We're made to make mistakes and to learn in the process. Life isn't the silky cocoon our parents struggled to provide for us. Whatever few ugly experiences I've had taught me to think differently, taught me that there are people you need to discard without a second thought and people you need at all costs. In those moments, everyone need to have faith and trust in someone. In my opinion, this "someone" must be our self. And the rest will follow...

"Together they fight demons in New York City, of which there is an endless supply. Each time another one is defeated, the Misfit comes closer to forgiveness, a state of grace he never can quite reach."

Show Less
LibraryThing member DanTarlin
Heartbreaking story of Shelby, who is the driver in a car accident that puts her best friend in a coma at age 17. The book traces her fall and slow recovery over many years. Themes of mother-love, guilt, and of course redemption pepper the book. There is also a central mystery of a series of
Show More
anonymous postcards she receives with beautiful art work and cryptic messages over the years.

There are a couple of absurdly unlikely coincidental meetings that I could have done without, but the book is beautifully presented and poignant. A good read.
Show Less
LibraryThing member lostinalibrary
When Shelby survives a crash that leaves her best friend, Helene, in a coma, she suffers survivor’s guilt. She has a breakdown that puts her in a mental institution where she is abused. When her mother learns of the abuse, she pulls Shelby out and, for two years, she lives at her parents’ house
Show More
while continuing on a path of self-harm to ‘atone’ for the fact that she was driving the car.

Eventually, she leaves to live on her own but she shuns people even at her job at a pet store. However, several things happen to force her out of her self-imposed punishment – she rescues several abused dogs; a coworker asks her to help her by babysitting, eventually offering her a family which is aware of her shortcomings and accepts her warts and all; she renews a relationship with a boy whom she once had a crush on; and an anonymous someone is sending her post cards periodically with encouraging messages like ‘Say something’ that seem to arrive just when she needs them the most. Healing doesn’t come over night for Shelby but, slowly but surely, Shelby learns to forgive herself.

Faithful by author Alice Hoffman is a beautifully written coming-of-age tale. It looks at some very moving and emotional issues - survivor’s guilt, sexual abuse, loneliness, redemption, the need to forgive oneself for past perceived sins and transgressions as well as the need to let others in if this is to happen - all weighty themes that could easily cross the line to melodrama and manipulative tearjerker with a lesser writer. But Hoffman is not a lesser writer - she balances very neatly on that line without ever tipping over and she makes it look easy. The characters are sympathetic while showing flaws that we can relate to and the story is compelling. Hoffman does an amazing job of showing Shelby’s growth from survivor’s guilt to survivor and makes us believe and care every step of the way. A definite high recommendation from me.

Thanks to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review
Show Less
LibraryThing member Carlathelibrarian
When Shelby is seventeen, she's involved in a one-vehicle crash that leaves her best friend in a vegetative state and she attempts to commit suicide, as she was the driver. When she is released, she feels that she must be punished. Instead of going to college, she shaves her head, lives in her
Show More
parents' basement, and only makes human contact with her weed supplier, Ben. There are two different Shelbys. The before Shelby, seventeen, fun loving, popular in school, a good student and there is the after Shelby. Survivor guilt. This is her story and parts of it are not pretty.

After her move to New York with Ben, things begin to happen to Shelby. Good things, even though she doesn't want them and doesn't think she deserves them. She gets a job at a pet store where she ends up rescuing (stealing) some dogs, becomes friends with Maravelle, and is promoted to manager. She enrolls in college where she hopes to eventually apply to Veterinarian School.

Alice Hoffman has an understanding of people and their flaws. I cheered for Shelby, sympathized with her and was heartbroken for her at various times. I loved watching her move forward and try to forgive herself, even though she did everything she could not to. I love stories like Faithful that explore characters who are flawed and scarred and that draw me into the their lives as they find their way in life. This makes for a powerful and interesting read for me. I really enjoyed this audio book. The narration was very good and it felt like I was actually talking to Shelby as she moved through her story. I will definitely look for more from Alice Hoffman.
Show Less
LibraryThing member hellonicole
3.5 Stars

I'm not sure how to go about reviewing Faithful. Is it coming of age? Is it a redemption story? I mean, I guess in the end it is both. Shelby, who was driving the night she and her friend, Helene, are in a horrible accident, both comes of age and slowly redeems herself over the years
Show More

The story feels very real, and yet farfetched at times. Shelby's actions, fueled both by guilt and depression, range from self-destructive to selfless.

Mostly I couldn't help thinking that Shelby needed help. Yes she spent time in a psychiatric hospital, but obviously she still needed yet. I'm sure the idea of the story is that she helped herself by helping others, or some such, but she really and truly needed help.

Alice Hoffman does have a way with emotions, sucking you into the character's world. This was my first Alice Hoffman novel, though I'd heard a great deal about some of her past books. I am tempted to pick up another to give it a try.

*A free copy was provided by the publisher/netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Show Less
LibraryThing member SigmundFraud
Faithful by Alice Hoffman is a polished work of fiction. She is a skillful writer and this is a skillful novel.I question whether the skeleton on which the novel is built justifies a novel. That is when Shelby, the protagonist, has an automobile accident as a teenager when she is driving and
Show More
wearing her seatbelt and her friend and passenger Helene is not wearing hers and ends up terribly injured so that she is in a coma for the rest of her life. Meanwhile Shelby recovers physically after several months but suffers terrible psychological consequences as she feels strong guilt about Helene's injuries as a result of the accident. She lives with this terrible guilt which in turn defines her life and subsequent events in the novel. While I liked the novel i question whether the frame is insufficient.
Show Less
LibraryThing member cburnett5
4.5 stars

Faithful is so beautifully written, and the story grabbed me from the start. The early portion of the book is heartbreaking, and I was a little worried that the entire novel would be similarly melancholy. Thankfully, while sections are sad (I teared up a fair amount), Faithful is
Show More
ultimately uplifting, and Hoffman successfully demonstrates the powerful impact people have on each other’s lives. Once I started it, I could not put Faithful down and read the entire book in less than 24 hours.

I loved the postcard aspect of the story and for some reason it reminded me of When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. The resolution of the postcard/letters for each story is vastly different, but the way they arrived in Faithful kept reminding me of Stead’s book which I loved.

I highly recommend Faithful – the story will stay with me for a long time. The themes of redemption, making your own family and embracing the one you have, and growing up make this a fabulous story that will appeal to anyone who reads it. Thanks to Simon and Schuster and NetGalley for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Show Less
LibraryThing member dreplogle
Grief and falling helplessly, hopelessly into a black hole. All the "what ifs..." and the "I should haves..." that run through one's mind, examining all ways that this mindnumbing loss could have been prevented. Having been through this type of loss four years ago when my mother
Show More
passed, I easily recognized the desolation Shelby feels when her best friend is left comatose, after a black ice incident when Shelby had been driving. Reliving the incident in every moment endlessly on some type of hideous loop of self destruction and self recrimination.

And yet, this story is not the sad descent into hopelessness that one may expect. It's the powerful story of the support of family and friends, and even strangers. Working one's way through grief and again finding worth in your own being. Being faithful to the person you've lost and to yourself. Dealing with Grief can take years, and it never really goes away. One just gets better at dealing with it in microsteps. And one can find truths in one's own hidden depths. This is a touching story, full of hidden hope. Don't miss it.
Show Less
LibraryThing member sleahey
A novel about grief, guilt, and recovery, Faithful tells the story of Shelby, whose life does an about-face the night her friend is killed in a car accident while Shelby is driving. Her survivor guilt and sense of loss of her best friend overwhelm her for years, in spite of the best efforts of her
Show More
friends and family, particularly her mother and a mysterious sender of cryptic yet sensitive postcards. When she moves from the suburbs to Manhattan, she begins to recover, thanks to her friend/boyfriend and her affection for dogs she rescues. As her relationships to family and friends become more complex we care more and more about Shelby, leading up to a satisfying resolution. I particularly appreciated reading about "normal" people in New York instead of the wealthy and rarified few Manhattanites who people many recent novels.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Kris_Anderson
Faithful by Alice Hoffman is a very unusual novel (let me be brutally honest and say it is just plain odd). Shelby Richmond is seventeen years old when she is in a tragic accident that puts her best friend (of a sort) in a coma. Shelby feels survivors guilt and does everything she can to ruin her
Show More
life. She quits going to high school, tries to kill herself, and then shaves off all her hair. She spends the next two years lounging in her parent’s basement watching television and getting high (let’s not forget the smoking and junk food). The one person she talks to is Ben Mink, her pot dealer. When Shelby is nineteen, Ben is heading to New York for college. He is going to become a pharmacist and asks Shelby to come with him. Shelby then wanders around New York with her bald head (black clothes too). She eventually gets a job at a pet store. Ben is good for Shelby, but she refuses to see it. Shelby is still bent on self-destruction. After the accident, Shelby started receiving postcards. Whoever is sending the postcards is trying to help her move on. To encourage her on the right path. Will Shelby ever be able to move on with her life? Can she forgive herself for surviving an accident?

Faithful, as I said, was a very peculiar book. It is written like Shelby is talking. The reader is subjected to Shelby’s long, depressing narrative. Some parts of the book are compelling, but there are many pages that should have been tossed on the editing room floor (you get the metaphor). I felt that Faithful was not a finished book. It is also a very dark, negative novel. If you are a person prone to sadness or depression, please stay clear of this novel (otherwise, you will want to off yourself by page 75). I give Faithful 2 out of 5 stars (like I said there are some good parts).
Show Less
LibraryThing member TooBusyReading
Alice Hoffman's writing works for me sometimes, and sometimes it does not, so I never know whether I will love her books, one to the next. This one I loved. Shelby is a hard-shelled young woman who, despite some poor decisions, tries to be kind to everyone but herself. She is a tender, damaged soul
Show More
who can accept other people's shortcomings, but not her own. She doesn't deserve to be happy.

I liked her quirks, her personality, her tenderness towards dogs which she carried to the point of criminal acts. Well, good for her! And I wished her well in her messed-up relationships. The characters in this book are lovely, and drew me in. Yes, fiction, I know, but really good fiction can make you forget that. This is a tender, uplifting novel that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I was given an advance e-book copy for review.
Show Less
LibraryThing member nyiper
Just great! Yes, a tough story but I loved the character development and you really get close to them through their thoughts and words and actions, especially Shelby's, of course, the main character. The CD was read by Amber Tamblyn----thoroughly enjoyable.
LibraryThing member teeth
This was a wonderful but sad coming of age story. I had a difficult time getting into this story but in the end it was well worth my initial struggle. Shelby is involved in a terrible car accident where her best friend ends up in a coma. How will she ever be able to forgive herself? The story
Show More
unfolds as Shelby spirals into a deep depression and self destructive behavior. She pushes everyone who loves her away as she feels she doesn't deserve their love.As I kept reading I rooted for Shelby to find herself. The story was enjoyable and taught many lessons about redemption. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Beamis12
3.5 There are two different Shelbys. The before Shelby, seventeen, fun loving, popular in school, a good student and there is the after Shelby. After the accident where Shelby was the driver and made it but her best friend would live paralyzed and in a comma. How does one forgive herself after
Show More
something like this? Go on and live a life knowing the other person can't? Survivor guilt. This is her story and parts of it are not pretty.

A different read from the Hoffman of the last few years but her understanding of people and their imperfections, traumas shine through. I cheered with this character, sympathized with her and at one point was heartbroken when she made a decision I didn't agree with. I applauded her watching as she, almost against her will, tried to move forward and forgive herself. A very poignant story and one that touched me, that I found credible and with characters I loved.

ARC from Netgalley.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Dianekeenoy
Alice Hoffman, another favorite author of mine! I own and have read every single book she has written! This book is no exception, it's incredible, amazing and just plain old wonderful. Shelby is in a tragic car accident that leaves her best friend in a permanent coma. She cannot get past this. The
Show More
story shows how she tries to function after this unbelievable event. Every word is perfect, I just absolutely loved this book!
Show Less
LibraryThing member jmchshannon
Guilt is a powerful emotion. It cripples a person mentally and physically. It tears apart a person’s self-esteem much more harshly than any bully. It is insidious and difficult to ignore. It has the power to bring a person to the edge and beyond.

In the opening pages of Faithful, Shelby
Show More
experiences all of this. Hiding away in her parents’ basement, she does not consider herself worthy enough to live a normal life, let alone live. Drugs get her through her waking hours, and her mother’s presence prevents her from doing anything more permanent to ease her guilt. A funny thing happens though once Shelby is forced to interact with other humans outside of her family. It is this awakening, slow and filled with setbacks, that is the heart and soul of the novel. And what a novel it is.

Faithful is one of those novels that is both painful and healing. Watching Shelby suffer through the unimaginable guilt associated with being the person driving the car and walking away from the very same accident that put your best friend into a permanent vegetative state becomes its own catharsis for anything about which you might be harboring guilt. Shelby’s disgust with herself and refusal to consider herself worthy of a normal life makes it okay to feel the same. At the same time, her inability to truly give up on life provides an example of the importance of doing the same.

The truly important thing about Shelby is the fact that she is the epitome of faking it until you make it. It takes her most of the novel to recognize that she is worthy of anyone’s love or professional accolades, something everyone else figures out very early on in the story. However, even though she does not believe she is worthy, she still acts like she does. She dresses for the role she has been given even though she does not agree that it is hers to have. She never thinks herself worth the trouble, but she never gives in to her desire to give up entirely either.

Faithful is a beautiful novel. Shelby is so filled with self-loathing but still manages to live her life one day at a time that she becomes one of the most hopeful characters you will ever meet. The unconditional love she provides her dogs and the love she receives from her mother eases your own heartaches as you recognize the power and importance of such relationships. You do not just fall in love with Shelby, you become one of her biggest cheerleaders along her journey, cheering every minor success and encouraging the setbacks. Faithful reminds you that no matter how bad things get, there is always someone out there who loves you for who you are. It is a timely message and one that truly soothes the soul.
Show Less
LibraryThing member lauriebrown54
Shelby Richmond was behind the wheel the night of the accident that put her best friend into a permanent coma. Helene continues to exist, and for some reason people thing being in her presence can perform miracles of healing. People crowd Helene’s house, with her parent’s admitting them in
Show More
lines. Shelby, on the other hand, is alone. She retreats to the basement, shaves her head, doesn’t speak, and attempts suicide. The only friend she has is the boy who she buys weed from, and she doesn’t consider him a friend. She doesn’t consider herself worthy of having a friend. But for some reason she follows him when he goes to pharmacy college, and slowly comes out of her shell, getting a job cleaning cages at a pet store. Unwillingly, she forms a friendship with a co-worker, even having the co-workers children- Shelby hates children- dumped on her one long weekend. Meanwhile, throughout this time, from accident to the end, she receives mysterious postcards with art on them and brief statements: Say Something, Be Something, See Something, Believe Something.

Saddled with major depression, PTSD, insanely low self-esteem, and survivor guilt, Shelby is a mess at the beginning of the story. She grows slowly through the years, but she goes grow- life sort of forces itself on her. Even though at times I wanted to shake some sense into her, it was beautiful to watch her spirit unfold. Of course she makes mistakes- we all do. It’s a coming of age story, albeit slightly delayed as she finds out who she really is. Hoffman almost always writes stories that I can’t put down, and this one was no exception.
Show Less
LibraryThing member bugzna2000
“Show her a rose and she’ll see only the wasp in the center of the bloom.”

Shelby stopped caring about everything and everyone after a tragic car accident that resulted in her best friend lying comatose. Shelby was the driver and her ‘survivor’s’ guilt and suffering run deep as she tries
Show More
to come to terms with the accident. Memories affect every part of her being, her relationships, her choices. Shelby’s story as a scarred survivor move forward through the stages of loss to acceptance and is an emotional roller coaster ride. Alice Hoffman is a gifted writer who again seamlessly weaved together strong characters and storyline. Not only did I love Shelby, but I loved her mother, Sue. Everyone should have a mother like Sue, the voice of reason and unconventional ways she exhibits love for her daughter. A very good read by the author of one of my favorite books, The Dovekeepers.
Show Less
LibraryThing member teachlz
Alice Hoffman's "Faithful" is an engrossing and captivating novel dealing with a devastating situation, loneliness, self- deprecating behavior.redemption,survival,trust, love and believing. The characters are flawed, not perfect living in an imperfect world. Family and love are important elements
Show More
of the novel. The heroine shows tremendous growth in her character and has more self respect and a sense of purpose. I enjoyed the location of the story, especially since it is the town I live in. Friendship and relationships are evident as well. I enjoyed Alice Hoffman's use of words, and how she "magically" tells a story. I would recommend this book as an engrossing read. Many thanks to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to read this book. (less)
Show Less
LibraryThing member Whisper1
Alice Hoffman never disappoints, and this book is yet another top notch read on the ladder of 30 successful books.

When teen aged Shelby listens to her best friend and drives through snow, hitting an icy patch that spins the car out of control, renedering her friend forever on life support, Shelby
Show More
becomes locked in grief.

Shaving her hair to become bald, living hermit-like in her parents basement, venturing out only to meet a local near do well who provides pot to her, in her guilt, Shelby remains severely depressed and responsible for an event out of her control

Eventually, it is the love and accumulation of animals that saves Shelby when she moves to New York with her pot providing friend who now is working his way through college.

Shelby uses him, but he loves her and will keep her at any cost. Eventually, Shelby moves on to find a life worth living.

Filled with heart felt emotion, Hoffman once again provides a wonderful story of guilt, gief and redemption. Unlike other authors who write many books while using their same story line over and over to the point of boredom, Hoffman always recreates magic!
Show Less
LibraryThing member c.archer
This is one of my favorite books of the year. It is an amazing and moving story of guilt, forgiveness, self-discovery, and the power of love. Ms. Hoffman once again touches my heart with her lovely prose. She tells a beautiful story that made the rest of my world disappear while I was reading.
Show More
thank the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this title.
Show Less
LibraryThing member pdebolt
Shelby Richmond's life is irrevocably altered in the instant her car spins out of control and leaves her passenger and best friend, Helene, in a vegetative state. Shelby spends time in a psychiatric ward where she is repeatedly raped by a caregiver, and then returns to her parents' basement where
Show More
her transformation from a confident, popular teenager into a drug-addicted loner is completed. Her new best friend and former classmate is a drug dealer, Ben Wick. Shelby and Ben eventually move together to New York, where Ben begins to turn his life around. Shelby's survivor guilt leads to crippling self loathing, and she is incapable of returning Ben's devotion. She begins a relationship with a married man who practices serial infidelity. Having pushed Ben out of her life for her affair, she is totally alone except for a strong friendship with a woman who works at a pet store with her. Throughout the years since the accident, Shelby shows unfailing kindness and compassion for the lost and lonely.

As with all the Hoffman novels I have read there is a mystical quality that requires a suspension of disbelief for many of the coincidences and situations. It is impossible not to care about Shelby as she emerges slowly from her self-imposed exile and begins to value herself.
Show Less
LibraryThing member brangwinn
Wow, Alice Hoffman’s best book to date. I loved reading about a teen who thinks she’s nobody quietly evolve into a person with depth, compassion and knowledge, despite her never really thinking she’s somebody. If I were to use a adjective to describe this book I’d say “heartfelt”,
Show More
although I still think Shelby was crazy to “rescue” the dogs and the cat and she was a person I probably would have ignored if possible. Shelby makes me stop and think about how a person’s appearance really has nothing to do with the size of their heart.
Show Less
LibraryThing member BettyTaylor56
Alice Hoffman set the bar high with her novel “The Dovekeepers”. “Faithful” doesn’t quite make the bar, but still was very good. High school students Shelby and Helene are best friends. Helene is beautiful and very popular, while Shelby is the smart one. But one February night their lives
Show More
are turned upside down. Helene is left in a coma and Shelby has survivor’s guilt and can’t seem to move on. Shelby is now self-destructive – cutting herself and a suicide attempt ending up in a psychiatric unit. She has stopped caring about anything, beating herself up day and night.
Helene’s situation reminded me a bit of Jodi Picoult’s “Keeping Faith”. People come from all over and stand in line waiting to be near Helene, as it rumored that miracles happen when near the presence of Helene. I expected more of the story to revolve around Helene, but I guess that would have distracted the reader too much.
I will admit that shortly into the book I was sure I was not going to like it, might not even be able to finish it. But the more I read, the more I grew to like the vulnerable Shelby. She says she doesn’t care about anything, but her actions say otherwise. She has a HUGE heart. It seems everyone else can see the good in her, except Shelby. I ached for her as she dealt with the demons of survivor guilt and cheered her on as she began coming out of her depression. While still very guarded she developed relationships, handling broken romances and making friends.
The characters are so real, making mistakes and dealing with the ups and downs of life. Like any teen, Shelby deals with depression, guilt, drugs, romance, heartbreak, and friendships. By the end of the book I felt like a mother watching her daughter going off to face the world on her own.
Many thanks to Simon & Schuster and Netgalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Show Less
LibraryThing member cln1812
Shelby Richmond was driving the car the night of the accident that left her friend, Helene in a coma from which Helene is unlikely to ever recover. Shelby feels survivor's guilt and takes it out on herself, including a suicide attmept, shaving her head, and holing up in her parents' basement for
Show More
years. She puts her life on hold, including not going to college in the fall as she had planned.

Eventually, Shelby moves to New York City with her drug-dealer, Ben Mink. As Ben begins to pull his life together, Shelby pulls away, both from her romantic involvement with Ben and her life in general. She eventually takes a job at a pet store and makes friends with one of her co-workers, Maravelle. Against her wishes, Shelby is pulled into Maravelle's life and that of Maravelle's kids.

Along the way, Shelby begins to rescue dogs and even a cat from terrible living circumstances. She is haunted by periodic postcards she receives in the mail carrying simple but profound messages that have great meaning in her life every time she receives a new one.

Will Shelby ever begin to live up to her true potential and forgive herself for an accident on an icy road long ago?

This is a great read, one of the best books I read in 2016, carrying profound lessons and beautiful imagery.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Show Less

Original publication date



Page: 0.2683 seconds