Summary: Ellie's attempts to live a normal life since the disappearance of her beloved older sister, Nina, have been futile. Every time the 16-year-old manages to get it together, a new but ultimately worthless clue emerges, returning her to despair. Even her best friend, Amanda, is losing patience. So it is a relief that Sean enters Ellie's life just as she discovers a drawing done by Nina with a phone number embedded in the design. Sean proposes a road trip to find Nina, and Ellie jumps at the chance in spite of having met him only days before. Murder, mystery, and romance all wrap into a road trip. -- Point
I admit that I was a little surprised when I sat down to read WHEREVER NINA LIES by Lynn Weingarten because I was expecting something different based on the front cover. I think the cover might have led me to believe that this book was a little less serious than it was because I thought it was kind of cute with the ransom letters and the pink and green trim. Having said that, it was my own fault for thinking that way because the book description on the back cover definitely captured the feel of the book. I found this book to be rather intense -- I was on definitely on the edge of my seat for the last half of the book!
WHEREVER NINA LIES is Ms. Weingarten's debut novel and I think it's a pretty good start. She has definitely written an intriguing book that will keep readers hooked. I liked her writing style and ability to tell the story; and I think she did a great job of developing Ellie's character. I liked that she tackled many of the issues that teens face today like parent/child relationships, sisterhood, absent parents, boyfriends, trust, loss, forgiveness, etc. This book will definitely give the reader something to think about while also providing some entertainment.
Overall, I'd say that I did enjoy this book; but I don't think I loved it. I have been thinking about this book for a few days (it has stayed in my mind which is always a good thing, right?) and I've been trying to put my finger on what my issue (probably not the right word) was with this book. I think I've finally figured it out! A few parts of this book were a little too contrived for me. I had a few issues with how easily Ellie found and figured out some of the clues to her sister's disappearance. And while I was touched by the ending, I also thought the story was wrapped up a little too neatly. This book was edgy -- the characters were interesting (and even a little strange) and there was a very serious mystery aspect. I just didn't think the book needed to have everything resolved by the last page.
The more I think about WHEREVER NINA LIES and my issues (there's that word again) with it, I think my age might have been the problem. This novel wasn't really targeted to me -- a 40 year old stay-at-home mom of two. So I tried to put myself in the shoes of a teenage girl. I do think teen girls will enjoy this story. They might find themselves relating a bit to Ellie, and I do can see them enjoying the romance as well as the twists and turns of this story. WHEREVER NINA LIES is definitely a roller coaster of a read with a few surprises along the way.
Thanks to Chelsy from Big Honcho Media for providing me a copy of this novel.
Note: This probably goes without saying but WHEREVER NINA LIES is definitely not a book that I will be passing on to my daughter right away -- maybe in a few years! There is some sexual content in this book and I really don't think the subject matter is appropriate for children under 14 years old (of course, I'm a little overprotective -- others might think 12 years old is okay.)