by Jonathan Friesen
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Just released: December 23, 2014
Hardback: 256 pages
It was supposed to be just another flight, another escape into a foreign place where she could forget her past, forget her attachments. Until Clara found herself seated next to an alluring boy named Elias Phinn—a boy who seems to know secrets she has barely been able to admit to herself for years.
When her carry-on bag is accidentally switched with Elias’s identical pack, Clara uses the luggage tag to track down her things. At that address she discovers there is not one Elias Phinn, but two: the odd, paranoid, artistic, and often angry Elias she met on the plane, who lives in an imaginary world of his own making called Salem; and the kind, sweet, and soon irresistible Elias who greets her at the door, and who has no recollection of ever meeting Clara at all. As she learns of Elias’s dissociative identity disorder, and finds herself quickly entangled in both of Elias’s lives, Clara makes a decision that could change all of them forever. She is going to find out what the Salem Elias knows about her past, and how, even if it means playing along with his otherworldly quest. And she is going to find a way to keep the gentle Elias she’s beginning to love from ever disappearing again.
I found this to be a story with themes of coming-of-age and coming-to-terms via road trip.
As one of the characters had dissociative identity disorder, it was interesting to learn about it and how it affects day to day living. Also, amazing how the mind works to cope with situations. The mind can protect so extremely to the point of splintering.
Some scenes were surreal and poignant with interesting perspectives of life and living.
There is also a kind of mystery within the story in trying to figure out the secret that the main character, Clara, is holding close.
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* review copy courtesy of Fall Reading Challenge 2014. @booksparks #FRC2014