ARC Book Review: Half Of What You Hear by Kristyn Kusek Lewis
ashley | I don’t read a ton of “women’s fiction”, but any time I have, I’m always surprised by how much I enjoy it. I was hoping that Half of What You Hear by Kristek Kusek Lewis would be much of the same. I liked that it took place in a small town and revolved around a woman who moved there and discovered all their secrets.
My one worry going into this was that it would be gossipy and that’s exactly how the book started. I had reservations and wasn’t sure if I was going to get into this, but it actually started to grow on me and I think it really found its groove the further I read. It was written so that these gossipy moments set the scene and built the rumours kind of outside the actual story. Each mini chapter had unnamed characters kind of talking about other characters to add to the progression of the plot, without actually showing those scenes in the story. It was a unique take and I thought it broke up the book nicely.
At first the characters didn’t really speak to me, either, but again, the more I read, the more they grew on me. Or at least the more Bess did. I pretty much hated every other character, but you’re kind of supposed to. At least they aren’t very likeable, or they don’t treat Bess very nicely, anyway, and it brings back a whole lot of my own memories, dealing with girls like that. So I had a lot of feelings and emotions intertwined into this story and found a lot of it heartbreaking and frustrating, much like Bess. I could really relate to her anger and bewilderment. Another significant character was Susannah, who again is not likeable and is highly unreliable. But she made you feel a lot of different feelings and I really like when a character can bring that out. She was super complex and I quite enjoyed the rollercoaster of a tale she told.
I really enjoyed Lewis’s writing here. There were a lot of heated moments in the dialogue and I find sometimes these moments come off cheesy and not quite realistic, but it was totally believable without any extra drama and I had no problem seeing the natural progression build between these characters.
As the secrets unraveled, a few were expected, but I did not see the ending coming and I enjoyed learning the surprising secrets about the people in this town and how holding on to those secrets have shaped them and their lives. This really was a portrait of the townsfolk, who in one way or another, were all interconnected with each others’ histories.
december 31, 2018