Wherever Nina Lies

by Lynn Weingarten

Rating: ***1/2

Nina Wrigley has been missing for two years. No one has any idea what happened to her. Did she die? Was she kidnapped Did she just up and leave? Nobody knows. Least of alll Ellie Wrigley, Nina’s sister. But Ellie is determined to find out what happened. And one day she finds a clue she can’t ignore. Soon she’s off on the craziest adventure of her life. It’s always been beautiful, impulsive, intriguing Nina who’s inspired love and adoration in other people. But now it’s up to Ellie to grab life by the …ahem…collar…and solve this mystery once and for all.

The world doesn’t make any sense at all. People tell you it does, try and pretend it does. But I know what kind of place this is, what kind of world we live in. And my breath catches in my throat, and my heart rips apartn, not just for me, not just for Nina, but for all of us.

This book surpassed my expecations. And maybe I’m only able to say that because I picked it up with low expectations. I admit, it was enitrely of my own choosing that I started reading this – no one forced me, I wasn’t participating in any sort of challenge or whatever. The premise interested me. Who doesn’t love a mystery? Me, I crave mysteries. I live for mysteries. I might even die for them.

Actually, no.

I finished this book in a day. Because of my thing for mysteries I am unable to leave a whodunnit well enough alone until I know the answers. And you gotta admit the premise of this one was good – missing sister, gone for two years, possibilitythat she’s still alive. Could be real right? And the writing wasn’t half bad, either. Some of it reminded me, slightly, of Sarah Dessen’s – which is saying something, coming from me. Major Dessen fan here.

But some of the things just didn’t feel realistic. Like Sean. I mean, would any sane, sensible girl really get into a car for a road trip with a guy she’d only known, and been in total contact with, for about half a day? I sincerely hope not. And the clues, they just seemed to be far too easy to find. Everything fell into place too quickly.

*SPOILER* For instance, with the ‘Jamie’s’, they just happen to be at the first music store that Ellie and Sean visit and they just happen to know that Nina was the illustrator for the band’s CDs and even have the original illustration? Uh…coincidence? I think not. More like the author ran out of ideas, or didn’t think about it nearly enough. It was all like a very conveniently placed treausre hunt, convenient and contrived. *END SPOILER*

Another thing I found to be slightly unbelievable was the mother’s lack of reaction to the fact that her eldest daughter was missing. It wasn’t a complete lack of reaction – there’s a scene where Ellie spies her mom crying, but I just felt that there should have been more. Especially more interaction between Ellie & her mother – the fact that the elder daughter is missing should have been a great opportunity to confront each other about a lot of things. It could’ve been way more juicier if that had happened. But there’s none of that. Ellie badgers her mom for awhile but doesn’t seem that daunted about her mom’s lack of curiosity or worry. In fact, the mother’s huge lack of curiosity made me think that maybe she DID know something, but nope, no such thing’s revealed in the end, either.

Having said that, I still liked the novel overall. The writing wasn’t too bad – I found myself pleasantly surprised with a lot of the desciptions she used. Ellie’s a likeable protagonist, she was very determined to find her sister and didn’t allow herself to be persuaded otherwise. She’s definitely a character a reader can relate to – although she is slightly naive, but I’ve been told I’m naive as well, so I guess no problems for me there. Of course, the one downer – and a huge one, considering everything – was the fact that she so willingly jumped in with Sean’s plans. Not exactly a great message. But aside from that, it’s an ok read, what with the mystery and the road trip.

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