author: Stacey Donovan
published: 1 September 2015
publisher: Open Road Media
genre(s): contemporary, romance
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The emptiness of suburban life seems fated to Virginia Dunn—commonly known as V. It’s spring, and the Dairy Barn, the stubborn bicuspids of her sister, the Neanderthal indifference of her brother, and her mother’s bottle of scotch remain the same. Then Lucky, beloved canine, ends up a bloody wreck from a hit-and-run, and life careens downhill. Lucky’s in a cast, V’s best friend begins avoiding her, her mother’s drinking worsens, but all else slips into the background when her father becomes fatally ill.
As V dives into the meaning of what is happening, she finds there are few answers. Life, if it was ever simple, is now a mystery. How can people she has known forever become sudden strangers? What is loss? Death? Love? Into this mystery walks Jane, and V soon realizes that she has become a stranger to herself as well—for following the captivating Jane are other questions that both arouse and disturb. The wrenching answers to these seem to break every rule, challenge all limitations, and introduce a new freedom.
Dive is a truly poignant book about love and loss, friendship and family. The story revolves around Virginia, a 15yo girl who is going through one of the worst times of her life. And because personal tragedy is never enough, just about everything around her seems to be rising against her. Isn’t that the way it always seems to be in life? This truly is what made the book so relevant to me as a reader, a person has been through their own fair share of loss and personal tragedy. Perhaps because of that, I read this a little differently. For me, it was the feeling of not being alone.
This is a book that is extremely character-driven. We spend the book inside the head of Virginia, feeling her confusion, her pain, and even her moments of joy and happiness. Through her we get to know her parents, her siblings, and her friends. And every one of them is a very different person. Her mother is a bit of a drinker and that is getting worse by the day, putting Virginia in positions she should never have to be in at her age. Her father seems to be a bit on the oblivious even before he becomes so sick. Her brother Edward (and I love the random use of rude takes on his name throughout the book) is pretty apathetic most of the time. But it is her little sister, Baby Teeth, that shines. She is smart and quirky and, in some ways, the true heart of the book. Virginia is understandably overwhelmed and I think she spends much of her time a bit emotionally. And if all of her family problems aren’t enough, her dog is run over and her best friend starts being unreasonably mean and avoiding her, just when Virginia needs her the most. But then there is Jane, who unwittingly becomes Virginia’s anchor.
At the center of the story is Virginia’s fear and sadness. It is overwhelming and pervasive, just as it is in real life. She is barraged with so many things, each one of them enough to take her down by itself. But she is dealing with all of it all at the same time all by herself. There were moments that this was not an easy read because of the depth of the emotions, but it is a powerful read. It is also a read with unexpectedly funny moments and moments of happiness and joy. It is a book that truly gives you the feels!