Evoke by D.M. Simmons | Book Review
When Laney wakes up in a hospital bed, she may remember who she is, but her memories of how she ended up there are gone. Then she learns an accident took the lives of three childhood friends, leaving only Laney and Evan behind. Laney must put the pieces of her life back together and learn how to live without three of her closest friends. And just when she thinks Evan will be by her side through it all, grief opens a rift between them.
It was refreshing to switch gears from constantly being inside a character’s mind to experiencing everything firsthand alongside Laney. The style of writing is dialogue driven and amplifies each emotion. This creates a wonderful source of tension and mystery. I knew there was something major left to be revealed. That Laney had forgotten more than just the accident. D.M. Simmons achieved the perfect balance of foreshadowing and memory clips to create an overarching mystery I had to finish the novel to solve.
I also applaud the relationships in this novel. They were complicated, messy, and realistic. Each person tied to the three friends experienced grief in their own way. It caused confusion as Laney, wrapped up in her grief, couldn't understand why certain people in her life no longer communicated well. The social environment was so different from what she remembered and this shift in reality added to the story. There was also an emphasis on mother-daughter relationships. Her mother stepped in to protect her emotionally and tried to ease her through the new boundaries of life. Parents often take a huge step back in young adult/new adult novels. I was glad to see Laney’s mother front and center, allowing Laney to see how her parents dealt with heartache and loss.
And the town of Lake Haven, Maine was so skillfully built into the story. Readers discover a sense of community and purpose within the small waterside town. There was no need for overly descriptive details of buildings or history, as the writing gave readers just enough information to paint it in their minds. And as Laney began to meld back into society, each new area she explored was brought to life by the people and personalities within them.
Evoke is aptly named as it brings so many different emotions to the surface while reading. Laney’s journey of discovery and healing will take hold of your heart and refuse to let go. This is a beautiful book about friendship, love, and loss.