Review: Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel

I received this book for free from BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Edgewater by Courtney SheinmelEdgewater by Courtney Sheinmel
Published by Amulet Books on September 8, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 336
Source: BEA
AmazonThe Book Depository

Lorrie Hollander used to be a rich girl, but now she’s lost everything because of the secrets and lies of the people around her. It’s been 12 years since Lorrie’s mother skipped town and left Lorrie in the care of her unstable aunt Gigi. Together they live in a neglected, decrepit mansion called Edgewater, the eyesore in a town of extraordinary wealth and privilege.

When Charlie, the son of an esteemed senator, takes an interest in Lorrie, her shame for her family and lifestyle runs deep. But what she doesn’t know is that Charlie’s family is hiding something, too, and that their secrets are inextricably tied. Now Lorrie must confront the truth about her family—and everything she ever thought she knew about herself.

Lately, I’ve switched almost entirely over to mini-reviews. It’s sort of overwhelming how many reviews there are for most things, and I didn’t want to add more to the noise than felt right. Edgewater gets a full review because a) it was a great surprise and b) I’ve not heard any hype about it all. So this is my announcement: Edgewater is good, and, if it wasn’t on your to-read list, maybe it should be.

From the blurb, I wasn’t really that interested in Edgewater. If you’re wondering why I picked it up at BEA, it was partly because it was there and partly because I like to allow for surprises like this one. There’s something really lovely about going into a book with zero expectations and finding a diamond in the rough.

Edgewater reminds me most of I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, a classic YA fans should definitely read. And then they should watch the movie. Both feature girls in messed up families living in a once-marvelous home. Lorrie’s home, Edgewater, used to be the nicest home in an area of mansions, but now it’s more disgusting than many of the homes you’d see on Hoarders. Seriously, during the first scene, a cat pees in the stairwell because that’s just how things are there. And, no, that doesn’t get cleaned up.

Lorrie dealt with her fucked up home life by running away from it: to boarding school and horseback-riding camp. The money left for the daughters by her mother before she ran off to Europe with her lover, leaving them with flighty Aunt Gigi as a guardian, was enough for Lorrie to keep up appearances. It was not enough to keep Edgewater from crumbling into disrepair and lbr biohazard status.

When Aunt Gigi fails to transfer the month’s money into her account, Lorrie finds herself summarily kicked out of horseback riding camp. She has to borrow money from her best friend Lennox to even get a flight home, and she has to leave her precious horse Orion behind until she finds money to pay for his shipment.

Edgewater could easily have felt like a poor little rich kid book, but it really didn’t. Lorrie’s home life is so completely fucked up, with the sanity of both her sister and aunt seeming a bit questionable. I don’t want to delve into the plot stuff too much, but I really liked the way Sheinmel resolved things; things are less black and white than I expected, which was really refreshing.

Obviously I love Orion a lot. The scenes where Lorrie was with Orion were the most emotional ones for me. Like Lorrie, I’ve always been obsessed with horses, though I never had my own. As with the dilapidated home, Sheinmel’s descriptions really bring the scene to vibrant life. She even manages to make mucking out stalls not sound that terrible, because to Lorrie it isn’t; it’s part of having and loving a horse.

The romance was a bit on the meh side, coming a bit too fast for my taste, though I wouldn’t call it instalove. There just wasn’t enough of a connection for me to care about it too much. I do, however, really appreciate Lorrie’s friendship with Lennox. Lorrie’s keeping a lot of secrets and does a lot of bad friend things, but their friendship is a strong one. In YA, there’s often a dearth of these solid friendships, so it’s nice to see. I also liked that they did fight and work through things, because friends do fight and a friendship is only strong if you can work through those times.

Sitting at home on the couch on Labor Day, I read through Edgewater in just a couple of hours. There was something so compelling about it that kept me from putting it down.

Favorite Quote:

There are the stories people tell about your life, and then there’s the truth about it, which is completely your own.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif i capture the castle kiss
A bit misleading since this wasn’t a shippy book for me, but I like looking at it and there IS kissing so whatever.

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