Author: Robin Bridges
Rating: 3.5 - 4/5
Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its release.
“I can’t ever be the blazing star that Iris was. I’m still just a cold, dark satellite orbiting a star that went super nova.”
Andria’s twin sister, Iris, had adoring friends, a cool boyfriend, a wicked car, and a shelf full of soccer trophies. She had everything, in fact—including a drug problem. Six months after Iris’s death, Andria is trying to keep her grades, her friends, and her family from falling apart. But stargazing and books aren’t enough to ward off her guilt that she—the freak with the scary illness and all-black wardrobe—is still here when Iris isn’t. And then there’s Alex Hammond. The boy Andria blames for Iris’s death. The boy she’s unwittingly started swapping lines of poetry and secrets with, even as she tries to keep hating him.
I had a lot of time to read this, yes, and I only managed to read it now that it got published. Can I say I was scared? Because I was. It's been some time since I read a regular young adult book. I'm much more of a new adult reader these days, so whenever I browse through the titles in the YA section, I get a little scared that my love for this genre will fade or something. Which won't happen - I hope. But maybe if it eventually does, it's not because of Dreaming of Antigone. That book was seriously good!
People will say this book was good, but I think it was better than good (even though I just used the same word to describe it). Reading the first few chapters I was almost disappointed by how short they were, by how few things I understood. Nothing made sense to me. I got that Andria's sister had died and also because it had to do with drugs, but still, I missed the deeper meaning. And then, about 10% in, I was flashed. I was amazed. I don't even know why. Nothing spectacular happened, or maybe it did?! I think it was the mentioning of poems and that cute thing Andria had going on with a mysterious person. In class, she'd scribble a poem on her desk and when she returned the next day, for a new lesson, there'd be an answer - a new poem, scribbled down by a mysterious person. Oh, that was so cute!
Yet, sure... There was this Antigone topic that Andria discussed in class. Never having heard of that before (at least not that I remember and certainly not in English), I was lost. I love Greek mythology, so I guess sooner or later I'll find myself in a library and search for Antigone and all the others, but at this point, the talks, the discussions and the thoughts didn't make sense to me. I wish they had. New idea - read Dreaming of Antigone again when found out more about the Greek story behind it.
Reading about loss can be depressing (and oh was it depressing when Sophie, Andria's dog started feeling bad. I lost my cat this year, so that explains why I almost cried at that scene). But I liked the way Robin Bridges dealt with this topic. She didn't make it all depressive, the book wasn't all dark. Finding out the truth behind Iris' - Andria's sister's - death was shocking, yes, but I never felt overwhelmed by any darkness or something. I don't know how else to describe it. The balance was a good one, I guess that's what I want to say.
Then there is Alex. Alex was Iris' boyfriend. They did the drugs together and when Iris died, Alex had to go to rehab. The book begins when he is back - and clean for that matter. He carries a lot of guilt with him and Andria blames him for her sister's death. But the more time they are forced to spend together, the more do their feelings shift and soon enough Andria finds out that Alex isn't the one to blame for what happened. But no matter how much she likes him, is it really right to fall for your sister's boyfriend even if she's gone? Oh, I love stories like that - when the sibling of the one who died falls for the former boyfriend/girlfriend. Only now I realize it's most likely always a sister that dies. (Hey there, authors. Please include a brother too!)
Being a (wannabe) writer myself, I imagine it to be really hard coming up with a story around the relationship of the characters. I liked how Robin Bridges made Andria and Alex bump into each other when they did. I especially loved the stargazing scene at a party they both attended. That was really sweet. And that's exactly what Alex is. Sweet! He's super adorable. One of my favourite boys from any YA books I have read so far, gotta admit that.
One last thing about Andria's friends, who were friends of Iris as well. I think I'll read Natalie's book that is coming out in September, but I can't promise I'll like her. Or Trista for that matter. And I'd just rather forget about Caleb than consider him changing to become a better person. Andria and Alex were my favourite characters in this book. And Sophie. But even Andria's mom... I didn't like her. All she cared for were other people's opinions. I'm glad her feelings toward Alex changed with time, though.
Re-reading this review, I think I should take a class on writing a useful review, but this is how I see it. This is how I felt while reading Dreaming of Antigone, which developed into one of my favourite read this year pretty fast.