I loved this book in so many ways and it took me by absolute surprise. I've never read a book quite like this before, and it was almost as if I was selected to read this one (by First to Read) and especially meant to read it because of some issues that connected with me on a personal level. I knew nothing about it beforehand, which sometimes is the best way to go into a book, and ended up absolutely loving it. It made me laugh, it made me cry. It made me want to write down lines as quotes. It made me think of someone in my past that I've lost and I have grieved over for years. The cover alone has a cat on it (I know, I know, don't judge a book by its cover).
There are some HUGE issues running through the core of this beautiful, original book about a young girl called Esther being encouraged to face her fears by an amazing young man called Jonah (yes, how lucky is she?), so be forewarned: along with all the fears and phobias that are brought up, there are major issues of abuse, depression, suicidal ideation, self-harm, mental-illness (all that can encourage conversation, and I'm really glad the author Krystal put an afterword about some of this in the back of the book). There are big triggers in the book.
That said, I feel as though the story is a beautiful testament to how a dysfunctional family like this and facing fears like Esther does (as well as looking Death in the face) is really what was needed to do to turn their lives around. It's not all doom and gloom; this story is about looking fear in the face and telling Death 'it's not my time yet'.
I don't always enjoy books with overly 'quirky' characters but these ones all felt so genuine in their quirkiness: Esther with her different outfits, her mom Rosemary and her hippie-like existence, her agoraphobic father...they all are. Even Fleyonce the kitty (who at first I was very upset about, but that's another essay). The Man that Would be Death caps that list off. And then there's Esther falling in love with someone she's known since grade school, who goes through this list with her, honestly and earnestly.
There are so many amazing, unique elements about this wonderful story; I won't forget it any time soon. Every time I had to stop reading, I couldn't wait to continue. My biggest complaint is that I only had a digital copy. I most certainly need to own this amazing book.