Within the first, gripping, chapter of the book we meet Lorrie, a girl who is used to a very privileged lifestyle but is now going through serious financial hardship. Despite being a teenager she is bearing the burdens of an adult because of her absent mother and erratic Aunt Gigi.
I personally don’t read a lot of family dramas because they can be extremely cliché and out-dated, but I found Edgewater to be a new, refreshing take on the genre.
Lorrie Hollander lives in “that” house. Part of the exclusive, privileged town of Idlewild, Long Island – surrounded by mansions decorated in sheer opulence and grandeur – stands Edgewater. Once a symbol of wealth and prestige, it is now the eyesore of the community. Decaying, filthy and home to several creatures carrying disease, Edgewater represents everything wrong with Lorrie’s life. Neglected Lorrie’s only comfort is her trust fund that allows her to escape to the best prep school on the East Coast.
When Lorrie is called into the office and told her stay is no longer viable due to insufficient funds, Lorrie finds herself back at Edgewater for the summer and quickly realises just how dire the situation is. We can clearly see she feels with every passing moment, where living in a sprawling wasteland that feels more like a prison.
Throw in Charlie Copeland who has taken a fancy to Lorrie, but she feels like she’s running out of time. Desperate to save her family whilst pursuing the mutual attraction with Charlie, and figuring out a way to keep him from finding out she’s one of “those Hollanders”, Lorrie finds herself pulled into an old family mystery that if revealed could bring down the fragile house of cards the families of America’s most privileged postcode have sought to keep stable. This book is absolutely filled with beautiful imagery, searing emotion and fabulous storytelling, Edgewater is a truly special book.
Edgewater is beautifully written, with lush description. The pages flowed so easily and never faltered. I loved how real and flawed Lorrie was, and it broke my heart to follow her emotional journey as Sheinmel pulls no punches and brings home just what a haunting loss Lorrie and her sister have been subjected to.
There are a lot of serious issues raised in this book and Sheinmel does a great job of balancing their inclusion within the story, without letting them overwhelm the plot, nor letting them be pushed aside.
I loved the romance between Lorrie and Charlie, however, I would like to have seen further character development when considering Charlie. By the end of the book I still didn’t feel very invested in his character, as I felt that I didn’t know enough about him.
This sentiment also extended to the ending, which seemed a little rushed. I would have loved to have seen more of the secondary characters, and been allowed to discover how they coped with the revelations that unfolded.
Overall Edgewater is an engaging YA novel, that will be loved by teens and adults alike. Sheinmel’s writing is beautiful, gripping and yet brutally honest, which is something that can be easily lost in family dramas. I will definitely be picking up more books by the author in the near future.
This book was sent to me by the publisher Abrams & Chronicle in exchange for an honest review.
Working in collaboration with Jodie Loves Books