Published by Amulet Books on September 8th 2015
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Lorrie Hollander used to be a rich girl who spent her money on boarding school and equestrian camp. But that was before. It’s been twelve years since Lorrie’s mother skipped town and left Lorrie and her sister in the care of her unstable aunt Gigi. Together they live in a decaying mansion called Edgewater, the eyesore in a town of extraordinary wealth and privilege.While Lorrie is desperately trying to keep her family from collapse, she meets Charlie, the son of an esteemed senator. Terrified that he will learn the truth about her, she holds him at a distance. But Charlie’s family is hiding something, too. And Lorrie could never have imagined how their secrets, and their lives, are inextricably bound.Courtney Sheinmel’s Edgewater is a gripping story of scandal and romance, shame and redemption, and how one girl must come to terms with a shocking past in order to understand who she truly is.
As much as I hate to admit it, I’m a sucker for stories about how the “other half” live. Glimpses into the most exclusive communities, with unimaginable riches, memberships to country clubs and wardrobes spilling open with the finest Couture Paris and Milan has to offer are the perfect escape for me. When I read the blurb for EDGEWATER and realised it was a Riches to Rags story reminiscent of the tragic GREY GARDENS, I know it would be right up my street. Part Gossip Girl and Dynasty with a sprinkle of Scandal and The O.C thrown into the mix, EDGEWATER ticked all my boxes. Mystery and romance, with a brave and likeable heroine and an amazing story that kept me enthralled from start to finish, this was definitely one of my favourite reads this year.
Lorrie Hollander lives in “that” house. Part of the exclusive, privileged town of Idlewild, Long Island – surrounded by mansions decorated in sheer opulence and grandeur – stands Edgewater. Once a symbol of wealth and prestige, it is now the eyesore of the community. Decaying, filthy and home to several creatures carrying disease, Edgewater represents everything wrong with Lorrie’s life. Neglected by her guardian – Aunt Gigi whose grasp on reality diminishes with each passing day, Lorrie’s only comfort is her trust fund that allows her to escape to the best prep school on the East Coast and spend summers riding her beloved horse Orion at an exclusive riding camp. When Lorrie is called into the office and told her stay is no longer viable due to insufficient funds, Lorrie finds herself back at Edgewater for the summer and quickly realises just how dire the situation is. With no place to escape to, Lorrie is forced to confront the mismanagement of their estate by Gigi, the psychological effects it has had on her younger sister Susannah and the hopelessness she feels with every passing moment living in a sprawling wasteland that feels more like a prison.
Throw in Charlie Copeland, son of a Senator and heir to a political dynasty to rival The Kennedys, who has taken a fancy to Lorrie, she feels like she’s running out of time. Desperate to save her family whilst pursuing the mutual attraction with Charlie and figuring out a way to keep him from finding out she’s one of “those Hollanders”, Lorrie finds herself pulled into an old family mystery that if revealed could bring down the fragile house of cards the families of America’s most privileged postcode have sought to keep stable. Full of beautiful imagery, searing emotion and fabulous storytelling, EDGEWATER is a truly special book.
Beautifully written, with lush description EDGEWATER flowed easily and never faltered. I loved how real and flawed Lorrie was. My heart broke with her as I walked beside her on her emotional journey and I definitely shed a tear on more than one occasion as Sheinmel pulls no punches and brings home just what a haunting loss Lorrie and her sister have been subjected to with both the absence of an adult to raise them but also to protect them and keep them safe. There are a lot of serious issues raised in this book and Sheinmel does a great job of balancing their inclusion within the story without letting them overwhelm the plot and equally without the graveness of the subject matter being brushed over. The inclusion of the politics really added an extra dimension to the story and kept me hooked, constantly eager to know more. I loved the romance between Lorrie and Charlie however I would like to have seen more development of it as by the end I felt I didn’t know enough about Charlie to truly invest in his character. The ending seemed a little rushed and I would have loved to have seen more of the secondary characters and discovered how they coped with the revelations that unfolded. Overall, the story was fantastic and my gripes are minor.
EDGEWATER is an engaging YA novel, that will be loved by teens and adults alike. Honest, elegantly crafted, with characters that will capture your heart and stay with you long after you reluctantly close the book, EGDEWATER is a simply terrific read.