PURCHASE:Amazon | Book Depository
Seventeen-year-old Ryan Poitier Sharpe is a gutsy, outgoing girl who spends her summer days hurling herself out of planes at her parents’ skydiving center in the Mojave Desert. Fiercely independent and willing to take risks, she challenges those around her to live life fully. But after a brush with death, Ryan is severely altered—she’s not the same thrill-seeking girl she once was and seems to be teetering on the edge of psychosis. As her relationships crumble and her life unravels, Ryan must fight the girl she’s become—or lose herself forever—in this eerie and atmospheric thriller.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
My feelings about this book are complicated because while I thoroughly enjoyed it, Mirage walks a thin line between dealing with mental health and being a thriller and the two don’t overlap in a way which allows both things to be explored and established completely.
What the book does do well is teenagers. Teens who have sex, who make bad decisions, who drink and party, have sex, take risks, fall in love, fuck up friendships, everything. Tracy Clark has such a nice balance between all of things where various things define these characters rather than just what they do when they aren’t working. They are more than just what they do, they are defined by their relationships with the people around them, they are defined by their relationship struggles, they just are.
My initial reason for being drawn to this book was that it was a psychological thriller and I love my psychological thrillers. The problem was that the psychological thrillerness aspect of this book came at the cost of having a real discussion about mental illness. I honestly don’t know what words to use to put this better and make my criticism spoiler free but I feel like the book tried to hard to be a psychological thriller that it kind of just dismissed mental health issues when it could have engaged in them and had a discussion and just been all around better for doing that?
Having said that, this book features so many wonderful relationships I could cry. Ryan has a best friend who she is super close with even though he doesn’t really like her boyfriend. She has a boyfriend who in spite of not being liked by this best friend isn’t actually sketchy. He is actually pretty sweet for the most part and a little like Ryan herself. He makes bad decisions but also, he genuinely loves and cares for Ryan and that is obvious. Ryan also has a complicated relationship with her parents because her dad has PTSD but one of the most important things about their relationship is that even though they all hurt each other from time to time, they love one another and it’s okay to not be an obnoxiously happy family all the time.
The plot could have been a little bit more well put together so that the book felt a little bit more like a thriller/mystery but I adored the setting and the uniqueness of it. How many books have you read that are set in a skydiving center?
One thing I can say for certain though is that I did have fun reading the book and it went by really fast. There are some issues and it isn’t perfect but it worth the read if you are looking for something quick to read that will have you invested.
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