This book was sent to me for review. Thank you, Simon & Schuster! And thank you, friends, for supporting the brands that support my blog.
When S&S sent me this book, The Ash Family, I was super excited to get started reading it. The author is Molly Dektar, who is from North Carolina. I’m always happy to support local artists, authors, and artisans.
The Ash Family is about a figuratively lost girl meets an exciting man at a bus station, she’s swept away to a chosen family in the woods who are living off the grid. Prior to meeting the man, she had been on a bus going to college but seemingly (it’s not entirely clear) decided to travel elsewhere. Her name is Beryl, but when she is taken to the community in the woods they renamed her Harmony.
She is told she can stay three days or for the rest of her life. Beryl (or Berie or Harmony, whatever she goes by) asks so many questions about the community’s life, but she rarely gets any answers. She starts in the first day learning how to herd sheep, meeting the leader Dice, and making a friend or two. Ever so slowly, she learns about the darker side of the community.
The book really has a lot going on, and it moves quickly, but not much happens. It honestly feels like the same thing happens over and over again. Berie also has really random flash backs that don’t make any sense. They were more distracting than helpful.
I also don’t think Berie really knew what she wanted. She didn’t want to live with her mom, she didn’t want to go to college, she didn’t want to be with her ex-boyfriend, and she didn’t really know if she wanted to live with the Ash Family. She was incredibly wishy-washy and frustrating.
If Berie had been more likable, I would’ve enjoyed this more. I just couldn’t connect with her as a character. I don’t always have to connect with a main character to enjoy a book; however, it does need another redeemable quality. There weren’t enough details about the family or how they came to be together, and nearly all the side characters were poorly developed. I think one of the themes was to examine what someone will sacrifice to find where they belong, but you never know what Berie sacrificed to find her place (and I don’t think she found it).
Have you read this? What did you think of it?