NO ONE HERE IS LONELY was getting pretty bad reviews from other reviewers, but surprisingly, I actually thought it was okay. I can definitely see why some people wouldn't like it-- it's a strange book, and not a very happy one-- but I thought it did a good job showing what it can feel like to find yourself stagnating from social anxiety while also trying to deal with grief.
In this book, Eden, the heroine, is trying to get over the death of a classmate she had a crush on named Will. While that's going on, she's also trying to make sense of the last summer of "freedom" she has before college, her friend Lacey distancing herself, her father's health, and a dark secret of her mother's. Then one day, when talking to Will's mother, she finds out that Will donated himself as a "cognitive donor," meaning that there's a program of him that exists in cyberspace that can call up people in his voice, with his "personality" and even send out text messages-- for a fee.
Eden signs up for the program and uses Will as a therapist, confiding in him all of her problems and using him for advice. He ends up being able to "talk" her through a lot of her situations (including persuading her to shoplift, yikes), but she ends up using him as a crutch in a way that feels toxic. I think this is probably what turned a lot of readers off from the book, but I thought it made sense. Eden is so impressionable that she tends to rely on others to tell her what to do and how to feel, and a lot of the book is about her learning to get away from that-- first with the real people in her life, but then also with cyber Will.
Eden is actually a lot like me, personality-wise. I was really shy and awkward when I was younger and I think I was probably really clingy because I was afraid of being alone and saying the wrong thing and it felt like if I was in a group, I had camouflage and nobody would really focus on ME. And that was largely because, at the time, I didn't like me. This book is about Eden coming to terms with her "me" and shedding that camouflage and being seen and felt as a person, on her own terms.
I liked that message... even if the book was weird. *insert clown emoji here*
3 out of 5 stars
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