For What It's Worth


Monday, December 13, 2021

Review: What We Buried by Kate A. Boorman

 

Siblings Liv and Jory Brewer have grown up resenting one another. Liv—former pageant queen and reality-TV star—was groomed for a life in the spotlight, while her older brother Jory, born with a partial facial paralysis, was left in the shadows. The only thing they have in common is contempt for their parents.

Now Liv is suing her mom and dad for emancipation, and Jory views the whole thing as yet another attention-getting spectacle. But on the day of the hearing, their parents mysteriously vanish, and the siblings are forced to work together. Liv feels certain she knows where they are and suspects that Jory knows more than he’s telling . . . which is true.

What starts as a simple overnight road trip soon takes a turn for the dangerous and surreal. And as the duo speeds through the deserts of Nevada, brother and sister will unearth deep family secrets that force them to relive their pasts as they try to retain a grip on the present. ~ Goodreads

Source: Received arc in exchange for an honest review (an embarrassingly long time ago 😭 apologies)

Review: How to discuss this mind fuck-ery plot without spoiling....

Liv was raised to be a pageant queen by her star chasing mom - which led to reality show fame, straining Liv's relationship with her older brother, Jory, and eventually leading Liv to sue her parents for emancipation.

On the morning of the emancipation verdict, Liv nervously awaits with her friends (fellow pageant girls who live in similar situations and have a lot at stake with the verdict) and lawyer at the courthouse, while her brother Jory and their parents are reluctantly showing up for the spectacle. 

In the blink of an eye, Liv and Jory's parents both vanish while walking to the courthouse. Like poof! Gone.

Liv gets it stuck in her head that she knows where her parents are and they're just hiding to screw up her court case and Jory is in on it. 

Is Jory in on it? Are the parents dead? Is it Liv who orchestrated everything? Something even weirder? This is just the beginning of a road trip from hell as Liv drags Jory through the desert and to the family lake house in the woods. Yeah, that never goes wrong.  

Despite the mystery element of the disappearing parents, this is very much a relationship story. Except, instead of romance, it's about 2 siblings finding their way back to each other in order to move on. 

It's very rare to find a non-romance YA, never mind a fully developed story about two siblings. Told in alternating POV's between Liv and Jory, the reader learns how their shared memories of various events drove a wedge between them but weren't always accurate. 

Liv was driven harder and harder to become the perfect beauty queen and the trauma she went through had her acting out more and more which was (mis)interpreted as diva like tendencies and temper tantrums.

Jory, who has Moebius Syndrome which leads to partial facial paralysis, was misunderstood verbally and frequently bullied. He had idolized his sister and it stung when she seemed to be embarrassed by him and brushed him off when around her beauty queen pals and mother. HE retreated into himself and comes off as a brooding ass most of the time.

But NOTHING is as it appears in this book. They form an uneasy alliance and begin to mend their relationship again while on the hunt for the parents. 

The drive is anything from average though. Without spoiling, I will say it's very eerie, dangerous and maybe cathartic.

This is not the book for people who like their endings wrapped in a neat little bow or unreliable narrators. This would be me lol - yet, I liked it! 

I think what I loved most about this one, despite it not being my usual read, is how the author kept tripping me up but never used it as a red herring or as a way to trick the reader. She used the style to present a multitude of possibilities that lead to a deeper introspection about life, the power of  forgiveness and overcoming trauma.

Overall: Different but in a good way. Very original, mind-bendy, character driven but not neat and tidy if you need that in your books. 

20 comments:

  1. Okay, I'm sold. I'm not much to read YA mysteries just because I tend to figure out the surprise early on. But wow, even as I'm reading your review, I can tell it blows you away. Awesome review!

    Genesis @ Whispering Chapters

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm HORRIBLE with mysteries of all kinds. I've figured out twists just from reading the synopsis. lol

      It's a weird kind of book that isn't for everyone but I can guarantee you won't figure it out!

      Delete
  2. These kinds of books are so hard to review, aren't they? You did a great job because now I want to read it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh good! This might be a good one for you.

      Delete
  3. You made it! Without spoilers! 👏

    I loved the "eerie" and mind-bending side of the story - that's what drove me to this book of course LOL - but I absolutely agree on everything you said about the siblings' relationship. They weren't your average likeable characters, but I ended up loving them and rooting for them both.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They weren't likeable at all really but you sort of get where they are coming from and want better for them anyway.

      Delete
  4. That's kind of neat that it's a sibling story wrapped in a mystery. I like that

    ReplyDelete
  5. That cover always grabs me. "mind fuck-ery plot" lol. The best kind. And the parents disappearing- I'm so curious now. supernatural or just a more mundane plot?

    I usually do like a coherent ending but sometimes the author can really pull it off and I don't mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you would like this one!!

      I can send it your way if you want. Let me know - I have to go to the PO anyway for gift shipping.

      Delete
    2. Aw that's nice! I'm tempted to say yes but I don't know when I'd get to it since my reading has been so down. I'd hate for it to sit if someone else would read it quicker. But I'll take it if you're going to unload it or don't have anyone else that wants it. I'll DM you my address on Twitter.

      Delete
    3. It's been sitting in my house for 2 years unread soooo lol

      I don't know anyone else who wants it so send me you address. You can keep it so no rush reading.

      Delete
  6. I was sold at mind fuckery lol. Also it's important that we have more YA without romance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was nice to read something a little different and weird. Also in a way that (I felt) the author pulled off.

      Delete
  7. Ooh I'm really curious. And I love that it's YA without romance, because we need more of that. Also, that's great it has both of the siblings' POVs.

    Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a really unusual sibling relationship as well. I really enjoyed it!

      Delete
  8. Ohhh creepy. It must be so well done

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really was but it won't be for everyone.

      Delete
  9. I'm hooked! Adding it to Goodreads. Thanks for sharing your successfully un-spoilery review. 👏👏👏

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! You're welcome. It's a weird book and not for everyone but I liked it.

      Delete