The Shadow of Loss by Josefina Gutierrez
Publication Date: August 2014
Evelyn Gonzalez keeps losing people, which is always hard, but has she lost something much more? Has she lost her soul? Evelyn has a nervous breakdown and is institutionalized, after months of sorrow and pain she is thrust back into the world. The world of teenage angst and Calculus. Can she trust people again? Especially after hurtful assumptions and judgments made her miss her junior year of high school. Evelyn is just trying to heal what she lost and graduate from high school.
*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
The Shadow of Loss is Josefina Gutierrez’s debut novel, and while I don’t like it as much as I do 3volve, it turned out to be quite an interesting read.
Evelyn has gone through a great loss, which she thinks is her fault. Because of that and a few other things, she has a breakdown and is supervised in a mental facility. When she is finally released from there, Evelyn has to adjust to “normal” life, make friends, and convince everyone- especially her sister- that she is getting better.
At first, I was very irritated by Evelyn. She was quite bitter; always defensive, always pushing everyone away, and her thoughts were all over the place. Later on, I just started to feel sad for her. She has self esteem issues, anxiety issues, issues of misplaced guilt… lots of issues. When she meets the two people in her new school who do care for her, she is suspicious and guarded. It takes a while for her to forgive herself, let go of the past, and look towards a bright future. I like the fact that at the end of the day, she develops nicely into a strong individual who is willing to accept love from people who care to give it to her.
I also like the way the author showed, in bits and pieces, what led to Evelyn’s breakdown. It was something that kept me turning the pages to see what had happened, and when I finally got the whole picture, it was nothing I expected.
At a few points, I thought the drama was too much, and the popular girls in school were too farfetched; but towards the end of the story, things started to get toned down a bit. I did find it a bit hard to flow with some of Evey’s interactions with her sister, but in light of what she had gone through in the past, I can’t say the awkwardness between the sisters is out of place.
I like the fact that the author wrote straight to the point and included a few German and Spanish words, as well as a Glossary to make clear what was said in some parts.
Overall, The Shadow of Loss is a quick read that will keep anyone interested in all the parts that matter. Despite the awkward beginning of the story, things eventually get interesting, with a few surprises and twists at the end.