The Museum of Us
Author: Tara Wilson Redd
Publication Date: June 26th, 2018
Publisher: Random House/Wendy Lamb Books
Synopsis: Secrets are con artists: they trick you into letting them out.
Sadie loves her rocker boyfriend Henry and her running partner and best friend Lucie, but no one can measure up to her truest love and hero, the dazzling and passionate George. George, her secret.
When something goes wrong and Sadie is taken to the hospital calling out for George, her hidden life may be exposed. Now she must confront the truth of the past, and protect a world she is terrified to lose.
“Redd’s debut novel strikes a tender, poignant, and ultimately positive chord in its depiction of a young woman with delusions, joining a welcome trend in books both normalizing open conversations about and promoting wider acceptance of mental illness.” —Booklist
“A teen learns to use her rich interior world to fight trauma, but is this the only way out? This honest, heartfelt tale is deep and mysterious as imagination itself.” —Judy Blundell, author of What I Saw and How I Lied and Strings Attached
“You’ll inhale as you skid into the first chapter and only exhale as you cling to the last. A beautiful book about longing and loss . . . and what is real.” —Teresa Toten, author of The Hero of Room 13B, winner of the Governor General Award, and Beware That Girl
I really love deep, meaningful books that make me think, and The Museum of Us is the perfect example of one such book. Not only is that cover really pretty, with the clouds and the stars and the couple holding hands on the front, but the story itself is beautiful, full of hope, love, and secrets.
The very first line of the synopsis of this book, “Secrets are con artists; the trick you into letting them out,” is the best way to sum up this entire novel. It’s based on one secret that ends up being more and more difficult to hide, until finally everything comes crashing down and that secret is let out into the world.
Of course, this causes the kind of backlash you would expect it would, and the main character in the book is left trying to piece her life back together as she throws the truth out there, finally confronting what she has been hiding that no one else knew about.
The book also tackles mental illness, which is always a tough subject to talk about, but I feel that the author did so in a great way.
The characters in this book are flawed, of course – especially the main character, Sadie, but that’s what makes her so easy to relate to and so much of a likable character. I loved Sadie from the very beginning, even if she wasn’t as faithful as everyone thought she is. I’m not always a big fan of such a story line, but I believe that it was written beautifully and captured not just this secret, but a whole world of secrets. Everyone is hiding something at one point in their lives, right?
The writing in this book is some of the most beautiful writing I’ve ever encountered in a young adult contemporary. It’s not that the writing is lyrical, but it’s more engaging and captivating. I read this book entirely in one sitting because of how easy it was to get into, and it’s the kind of book that I can see myself rereading several times, giving it a special spot on my favorites shelf.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review – thank you!
TARA WILSON REDD, a graduate of Reed College, grew up all over the United States, including in St. Louis, Seattle, and Central Oregon. An impenitent dilettante, she is interested in everything, but especially language, travel, and animals. When she is home from her adventures, she lives in Washington, DC, where she works in libraries. The Museum of Us is her first novel. Visit her online at tarawilsonredd.com.
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