We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker is a book that was predicted to be a bestseller before it was even published at the end of March. I totally understand the love for this heartbreaking novel! The book is a slow-paced thriller, with perfectly detailed character development – I could picture each person in my mind, and almost hear their voices throughout the book.
Duchess Day Radley is a thirteen-year-old girl living in Cape Haven, California. She is foul-mouthed, strong-willed, an ‘outlaw’/unlikeable (by her own design) and a fierce protector of her five year old brother, Robin. Robin is a sweet, sweet little boy; still full of innocence and hope. Star Radley, their mother, is a lost soul – unable to care properly for her kids, and often surrounded by ‘bad elements’ of society. Sheriff Walker, known as ‘Walk’, has grown up with Star and remembers the day her little sister, Sissy, was killed in a hit-and-run accident by fifteen year old Vincent King. As the novel begins, Vincent King has served his time – 30 years in prison – and is returning to Cape Haven. Soon, Star is murdered, Vincent is rearrested, the children are moved to live with their estranged grandfather and the search for answers leads to many secrets unfolding.
We Begin at the End didn’t capture my interest right away, but by 100 pages in, I was hooked and couldn’t stop reading! The characters – especially Duchess and Robin – were so perfectly developed and my heart broke for their suffering. I thought their life was tragic, but then it got worse . . . How much would they have to endure? At one point, the cruelty made me cry because it was so unfair. There are good and bad characters who enter the story, and the lines between good and evil are blurry in many situations. This isn’t a light-hearted, happy “beach read.” But it was very real and had me thinking long after I put the book down. This will definitely be on the bestseller lists for a while!!!