I started this book in the afternoon and finished it before I went to bed that evening. In fact, I devoured it so quickly that I didn’t even take a few notes in my phone while reading, like I usually do to make writing reviews easier. I couldn’t bear to tear myself away from the story long enough to do so!
As a full disclaimer, I do not know enough about autism or sensory processing disorder to comment on the representation of either in this book. From my ill-informed perspective, I adored the characters of both Margaret and Mark, especially how Jack treated his sister as a whole person — a person with communication difficulties rather than lack of intelligence.
Though I expected the shift between third-person and first-person passages to be jarring, the perspective worked perfectly for both characters. Jack was not just himself, because his sister is an inextricable part of his life. However, the deep-dive into Mark’s brain brought his voice and peculiarities to life without exoticizing him. (Bonus points, as well, for Mark being a person of color in a understated but unmistakable way.) The way Jack and Mark work around Mark’s sensory issues to become intimate was also incredibly sexy.
My only real critique of this novel is that I find it a tad unbelievable that Jack never once did any research into what may have actually happened back home that prompted him and Margaret to head across the country. Seriously, it was a google search away. Though this lack of knowledge was a bit far-fetched, it did work well as a set-up to the climax to the novel.
Would love to check in with this family again in later installments of the Bluewater Bay series.