Despite the haunting illustrations and the entire premise of the novel (Lily, the titular character, sees how people will die when she touches them), Lily is not exclusively fear-based. To be sure, it is rather dark, with constant threat of death and a rather creepy religion. Above all else, though, it’s a story of loss and love, and how to pick yourself back up after the world has turned its back on you. It’s funny, whole-hearted, and surprisingly self-aware.
That’s not to discount the darkness, of course. There’s a sense of vague dread throughout the majority of the novel. The situations the characters find themselves in are frightening at best and downright upsetting at worst. It’s more psychological than anything else, helped along by the aforementioned illustrations. Speaking of, the artwork in this book is absolutely stunning. It’s eerie, it’s edgy in the best of ways, and it brings a sense to otherworldly-ness to the already fantastical setting.
Obviously, I’m a fan.
I love the way this book flows. I love the mix of dry wit and thoughtfulness in the thoughts of Lily. And I love the way it makes you feel.
This book changes you. It leaves you with a sense of wisdom, of having stared at something beyond recognition. Beyond words, even. It touches you deeply inside your soul and makes it stronger for it. To use a metaphor from the novel, it’s like going underwater and staring at the fuzzy, warped lines of the world above. It’s beautiful and suffocating. It’s everything and nothing.
Will you dive in?
Gwen is a sophomore attending Biotechnology High School in Freehold, New Jersey. She loves to read, paint, and research quantum mechanics in her free time.