Call Me Athena

Girl from Detroit

Narrated by Gail Shalan; Hope Newhouse; Ramiz Monsef
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Pub Date 17 Aug 2021 | Archive Date 17 Aug 2021
Andrews McMeel Audio, Andrews McMeel Publishing

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This enchanting novel in verse captures one young woman’s struggle for independence, equality, and identity as the daughter of Greek and French immigrants in tumultuous 1930s Detroit.

Call Me Athena: Girl from Detroit is a beautifully written novel in verse loosely based on author Colby Cedar Smith’s maternal grandmother. The story follows Mary as she and her family emigrate from Greece to Detroit in the 1930s, creating a historically accurate portrayal of life as an immigrant during the Great Depression, hunger strikes, and violent riots.

Mary lives in a tiny apartment with her immigrant parents, her brothers, and her twin sister, and she questions why her parents ever came to America. She yearns for true love, to own her own business, and to be an independent, modern American woman—much to the chagrin of her parents, who want her to be a “good Greek girl.”

Mary’s story is peppered with flashbacks to her parents’ childhoods in Greece and northern France; their stories connect with Mary as they address issues of arranged marriage, learning about independence, and yearning to grow beyond one’s own culture. Though Call Me Athena is written from the perspective of three profoundly different narrators, it has a wide-reaching message: It takes courage to fight for tradition and heritage, as well as freedom, love, and equality.

This multi-cast audiobook features:
Gail Shalan as Mary
Ramiz Monsef as Gio
Hope Newhouse as Jeanne
This enchanting novel in verse captures one young woman’s struggle for independence, equality, and identity as the daughter of Greek and French immigrants in tumultuous 1930s Detroit.

Call Me Athena:...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format, Unabridged
ISBN 9781524867317
PRICE $18.99 (USD)
DURATION 4 Hours, 32 Minutes, 13 Seconds

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (AUDIO)

Average rating from 112 members

Featured Reviews

To be quite honest, I picked this book up from Netgalley, as I needed an audiobook to listen to and this was one was available as a read now and I liked the look of the cover. I am so pleased I did, I got so much more than I bargained for, this book is beautifully written and the narrators were a joy to listen to.

The book follows the story of Mary a teenager brought up in a small apartment with her siblings and immigrants parents, trying to make a better life for themselves and their family in 1930's Detroit, Mary is trying to find her place in the world, longing to be an independent American woman, whilst he parents want her to be a 'good greek girl'. she can't help repeat the question, why did they every come to America, the land of opportunity if they are still so set in their ways and culture? She then discovers letters written by her parents in their native countries from 1915, Her father Giorgos is born and raised in Greece and her mother, Jeanne in France both living through the horrible war years, and dreaming of a better life. Through these letters we see their hopes, fears and struggles just to survive. The hardship or war and the years after whilst the world tried to recover.

It is a beautiful book about love, hope, survival and family. I enjoyed it even more on discovering the book was loosely based on the author's grandmother and great grandparents. It is so important for our generation and those who follow, to realise the sacrifices our ancestors made for their families in times of war, desperation and hunger.

Thank you again to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Expected Publication date August 17th 2021.

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I was connected to NetGallery via my friend and they told me that this audiobook was available asap. I found that this story was written well and it hit deep in my heart. The story consisted of three main characters who were not physically connected but their lives were connected to each other’s. There were flashbacks and smaller stories that pulled the book altogether.

Mary has always been curious on her parents coming to America and she discovers letters leading her to want to find an absolute true love. I felt as if I was also on this path with Mary, as my parents are immigrants too.

This book greatly represents equality and heritage, as well as twisting love into it and the past. I enjoyed this story and would highly recommend it!

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Five Things about Call Me Athena by Colby Cedar Smith

1. This book is gorgeous inside and out. I feel connected to all three voices.
2. I read the whole thing in one sitting. I didn’t even mean to. It just engrossed me.
3. Before I’d finished, I had preordered my own copy to arrive on the release date because this is a read again book. This is a make my shelf and mind gorgeous book.
4. Yes, it’s a book in verse and yes, it’s historical fiction but it’s more. It’s greater than the sum of its parts and it defy’s an age range definition. Everyone is going to find something for them in this timeless story.
5. With such a strong debut, I can’t wait to read whatever Smith offers us next.

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I picked this audiobook up on Netgalley. I love the cover, first off. That is what grabbed my attention. I don't know this author nor what this story is about.

This story is written in verse. If you liked Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, I think you'll enjoy this one. I would go a step further and say it is written with a more mature tone than Acevedo.

From the very first sentence, you feel like the only person this story is being told to. The narrators are engaging. Both the male and female narrators were superb.

This compelling story is about a multigenerational family dealing with life, poverty, war, etc. I have not read many books, in recent times, that cover a declining auto industry in Detroit and the Depression era that forced many middle class families into poverty. There also is a love story in the mix that doesn't feel out of place.

In a subtle yet direct way, Colby Cedar Smith brings up social issues like gender politics and class differences, and societal judgments without making you--as the reader--feel uncomfortable or like she is preaching to you or being condescending.

This story is so many stories in one. It's like if you lived in a multigenerational household, you would get stories from your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and then your parents too. And every one has interesting tales. It's not like you're waiting for the one who knows how to tell a good story. They all weave and blend together seamlessly. You are sitting up, at the edge of your seat, anticipating the next story. Definitely worth the read.

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This book was gorgeous beginning to end, I had chills more then once as I listened to this book.

It's written in Verse, and tells two amazing love stories. As well as stories about women persevering regardless of what would be considered normal during that time.

I loved this book SO MUCH!

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An excellent novel in verse from multiple POVs. Was so complex that I was enthralled yet entertained at the same time! Great!

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I picked this audiobook up from Netgalley on a whim, because it was auto-approved and I needed something new to listen to. And whew am I glad I did. This story was beautifully written, impactful, and held so much heart. Smith depicts family dynamics, life as an immigrant, gender roles, and finding love from three dual perspectives during war-time and the Great Depression. Each of these characters stories held so much love, heart, and ache. You will root for the three main characters as they come of age during conflicts, famine, and economic disarray. The narrators do a fantastic job bringing the story to life, as well as helping with setting and character confirmation as all 3 of the characters sound very different, making the book easier to understand in some portions. This novel is written in verse, so it's a quicker read; however if you're not a fan of in-verse novels, the audiobook reads as a typical book, just with more flowery, beautiful language. Definitely come pick up a copy from Netgalley, both formats are currently "Read Now."

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Thank you NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I’m so glad that I decided to download this audiobook to listen to today. I’m usually hesitant when it comes to historical fiction because my history with that genre ends up with me putting it aside or taking forever to read it. However, I don’t think I pressed pause once while listening.

This book follows Mary who wants to be more independent as a woman in the 1930s. Her parents, however, want her to be a "good Greek girl." Mary is longing for the opportunity to make her way as an American woman, but her parent’s traditions are holding her from that dream. She discovers old letters written by her parents while they were growing up in Greece and France. This story follows both Mary and her parents as they deal with struggles and try to find their way through it all. They fight for love, freedom, equality, along with traditions and heritage.

This story was so captivating and beautifully written! The characters' backgrounds were different, yet in the end, what they wanted and fought for, all seemed to connect. I loved this book so much! It’s also written in-verse, but in the audiobook, it sounded like it wasn’t. Overall, I give this book 5 stars, and I'll be ordering this book to have as a physical copy once it comes out (August 17) to be able to read the in-verse version. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more works by Colby Cedar Smith!

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I undoubtedly need a hard copy of this book on my shelf and reread it as much as I can. There are passages that I need present in my daily life. I want my daughters to read it. I want to share it with other people's daughters. Thank you, Mary!
#CallMeAthena #NetGalley

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Detroit in 1930s--automobiles, immigrants, female empowerment--it's all included in the historical novel told in verse. I was captured by the story of this family as the tale weaved between time and points of view. Beautiful language and fast-paced.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for an ARC in exchange of an honest review! All opinions are my own.

At first I was afraid to try this book. I don’t like verse even in my native language, so I was sceptical about trying it in English (I even got both the digital e-book and audiobook!). Nevertheless as a history lover, I couldn’t miss this chance to read the story. The book has 2 time periods and 3 POVs. The first one is Mary, who lives in Detroit during the Great Depression. Mary is conflicted – her environment wants her to be a ‘good Greek daughter’, but she wants to be a modern American women – date whoever she wants and even help with business! The other storylines focus on Marys parents: Gio a Greek and Jeanne from France. Their story starts together with World War 1 and shows how they both grow up and meat each other.

This book was a very quick read (I switched between audio and e-book) written in beautiful verse. I especially liked the fact that it was based on the authors grandmothers life. I would have liked to learn more about all the characters, but it is an amazing story! 4 stars

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Thanks Netgalley and Andrews McMeel Audio for the advanced audio book copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was a really good audio experience. There’s a full cast, which I always love in an audio book. The chapters alternate in order between Mary (living in 1930’s Detroit to immigrant parents), her father Gio (1917-18 Greece), and mother (1917-18 France). I love that the story moved between what was happening to Mary in the 1930’s and what was happening to her parents when they were her age and were meeting during WWI. Switching between the depression and WWI was super interesting to me and I enjoyed the differences but also similarities in the time periods. Mary was a great character and so strong and empowered; I was really rooting for her the whole time. I found her parents incredibly frustrating in Mary’s present, but seeing their past and what lead them to America gave insight into their opinions and made it a little easier to empathize with them.

The book is written in verse, but that didn’t come across super strong on the audio. I recommend the audio for an immersive experience but I also imagine reading the story in verse would be just as powerful.

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Thank you to Netgally and Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing me with an audiobook arc in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
OMG, I absolutely loved this book! I fell in love with the characters almost instantly, and just flew through the first 70% of the book in one sitting. I honestly probably would have finished it in one sitting if I didn't have other obligations. I found both timelines intriguing and delightful, Mary and Billy are adorable, and I found a new appreciation for all I take for granted being a woman in today's world.
A lot of the themes discussed in this book are not new to me but I think delving into them both from the distance of different culture ( i.e. replace being a "good _____ girl" with being a "good GREEK girl") and the aid of first person narrative really did wonders to breathe new life into the ideas discussed. I really enjoyed this story that felt both familiar and fresh.
10/10 would recommend!!

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Colby Cedar Smith took me on a beautiful journey and I loved every second of it. Historical fiction just always hits and this book solidified why it is one of my favourite genres. A sweeping story across time and generations ? Sign me up. Also i’m having a great reading month so far so *cross toes* that it continues.

Call Me Athena follows a young woman, Mary, as she struggles for independence and identity as the daughter of Greek and French immigrants in 1930s Detroit. Mary yearns for true love, to have a career of her own, to become a modern American woman much to the frustration of her parents who want her to be a ‘good greek girl’. Told in verse, this novel captures the perspectives of three narrators, Mary in 1930s USA and Gio and Jeanne’s in WW1 , and delivers a powerful message of love, grief, courage and most importantly, hope.

Aahhh this book just made me feel many things and I'm still thinking about it. I was angry ,I laughed , I swooned , and probably would have cried if i had tears left. The lyrical verse perfectly carried this story and breathed life into the narratives of the characters. The story, which was loosely based on the author’s own family , tells the story of being an immigrant in America so beautifully, detailing the reality of being in the land of the free but chained and struggling at almost every turn. The yearning for a life of your own and choices of your own in a world that doesn't make room for you because of your background or your gender. Mary was a captivating character to read from , I was rooting for her right from the beginning and felt myself cheering for her at every obstacle. All of the characters in the book had depth to them and this helped make their stories so much more engaging and made their actions more understandable. I don’t know how to talk about this book other than discussing my favourite moments so I will now get onto that.

This audiobook really added to the story and the emersion into the world and emotions of the characters. I listened the audiobook whilst reading with my eyes and would recommend that method for an optimal experience. The narrators were all really good and had different accents which helped differentiate the characters.

This book comes out 17 August 2021 and I think everyone should pick it up if you enjoy historical fiction and stories told in verse. I cant wait to buy it so I can go back and relive all my favourite moments and poems ☺️

**Okay now for some maybe spoilery gushing**

Billy and Mary were so freaking cute, i just bookmarked i think all of their moments because seeing Mary happy just made me so happy. Their first kiss, her in that green dress, when he dropped her off in the car - I JUST LOVED THEM. Seeing her parents, Jeanne and Gio’s story really gave them so much depth and allowed for them to be humans and people instead of these caricature immigrant parent characters. You really got to understand the way they were now and the things they had gone through.Reading from their perspectives and their love story was lovely and I love them so much and just wanted to protect them. im so happy and relieved that Mary got to live the life she wanted to and have the love she wanted and a career of her own, just ugghh so happy for her and mostly just pleased that the author didn't give me a devastating ending.

Thank you to Netgalley and Colby Cedar smith for the eArc and the opportunity to read this lovely story.

#CallMeAthena #NetGalley

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Detroit. Greece. France. How do the stories of people from each of these countries intertwin? What do Ford, fishing ships and hospitals by the seas have in common?

Colby Cedar Smith’s novel weaves it together in a tapestry that includes Greek mythology, World War II and Henry Ford’s combusting and re-melding of Detroit. Smith’s novel is written in verse, and initially, I wasn’t sure how I would take to it. It didn’t work as well for me in audiobook format, which is what I started with, but when I read the book, my brain was able to form a cadence for the verse.

So many of Smith’s lines lifted off of the page and the imagery was rich. I enjoyed learning about Detroit during the Great Depression and how Ford both made and broke people in the city. I made mental notes to look up several of the events mentioned, as well as Diego Rivera’s exhibit that is mentioned in the book.

I enjoyed reading the author’s note at the end about her inspiration for writing the book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for the Advanced Reader’s Copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Call Me Athena: Girl from Detroit by Colby Cedar Smith
Publication Date: August 17, 2021
Narrated by: Gail Shalan; Hope Newhouse; Ramiz Monsef
Thank you to @netgalley @andrewmcmeel for the ALC in return for my honest review.
My thoughts…
Digging it! So, my first book for August. AND, my first novel in verse! Who am I? I’m still finding out new ways to enjoy books. How amazing is that? This was actually loosely based on the author’s maternal grandmother. Set in the 1930s, the story was about Mary and her family who emigrated from Greece to Detroit. There were two timelines, one during Mary’s time and the other were about her parents’ childhood in Greece and France. I just enjoyed how Mary and her parents’ young lives paralleled each other, and how the timelines captured the different yet similar perspectives between the characters. I’m glad I listened to it on audiobook because, the narrators read the verses beautifully. I became immersed in the story. I appreciated how the sacrifices to emigrate, the Great Depression, riots and hunger strikes were portrayed so well. A book about equality, cultural identity and struggle for independence as a woman.

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*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for a review*

This book was incredible. The characters were so realistic and amazing. The writing was lyrical and beautiful. Everything about this book screamed amazing!

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I think I'm a little bit broken by this book. I wasn't even going to request it at first, but there was something about the cover that drew me in. And I have no regrets. It's the first novel in verse I have tried for a long time, and honestly I don't know why I was hesitant. It was marvellous: heart-breaking and heart-warming all at once.

Call Me Athena was beautifully written and the narration on the audiobook truly did it justice. I loved the performances, and I thought it flowed really well.

The split timeline had me so invested in the characters and the difference in their situations. Call Me Athena isn't afraid to take a close look at poverty and the disparity between rich and poor.

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Format: audiobook
Author: Colby Cedar Smith ~ Title: Call Me Athena ~ Narrators: Gail Shalan; Hope Newhouse; Ramiz Monsef
Content: 5 stars ~ Narration: 5 stars

At first, I was skeptical about this novel in verse. Because with those, it’s not always what you expect it to be. But this elegant and deeply touching novel surprised me. Despite this is a full novel in verse, it still feels lightweight, it is easy to understand, and the language remains beautiful.

Three people, three stories, each different. Call Me Athena is a story about immigration, love, and coming-of-age. It is a story of Mary, her Greek father Gio, and French mother Jeanne. The story spans from 1915 to 1934 and describes two quite different time periods: First World War in Europe and the Great Depression in America.

I listened to the audio version and read the ebook at the same time. Which one to choose depends on the reader. I liked both versions, but the audiobook was so much more. Three great narrators added a lot to the story with their beautifully accented narration. In the end, I would recommend both versions, depends on what you like. But getting both versions would also be an excellent choice.

Thanks to the Andrews McMeel Audio for the ARC and the opportunity to listen to this! All opinions are my own.

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I'd like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced listener copy of this book. Unbiased review - full speed ahead.

This book is written in verse, which could mean that the audio version would face potential shortcomings as a result. For me, I think the audio version translated the lyrical beauty of her poetry perfectly. I could hear the rhythm and the movement of the patterns, almost as if I could see the poems in my head.

As for the story itself, it's incredibly touching. A moving tale based on the author's family history. Finding that fact out, in the end, made it all the more powerful, to know that these people were real. I also felt that the dual storyline taken from two different time periods really worked for this book. Usually, I find that when a novel has a dual storyline, one suffers greatly and is way less interesting. That is not the case with "Call Me Athena". (Granted, Mary was my favorite character, but I am drawn to girls who don't always follow the rules.) Both the timelines - that of Mary and that of her parents, were equally interesting to me. I loved hearing how the romance between the parents developed and how Mary's story unfolded.

This book was truly a pleasant surprise all around.

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Thank you to @netgalley @andrewsmcmeel for my free audio download of Call Me Athena by Colby Ceder Smith : This wouldn’t of been a book I would of chosen but i enjoyed it anyway. This book gave me vibes of The Letter and Anne Frank. The book follows Mary a American born daughter of Greek and French Immigrants living in 1930’s Detroit during the Great Depression, Hunger strikes and riots. Mary’s father wants her to have a arranged marriage like a good Greek girl but Mary born in Detroit wants more, a business of her own a husband she loves and a life she chooses. The book is written from three narratives her Mother a French immigrant and her Father a Greek immigrant. Mary finds letters that tell the story of her parents in 1917 during war time, how they met and how they came to America. It’s a story of a young girl growing up in family tradition and heritage, freedom and love in tough times. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ from me.

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So, the other day I was scrolling through NetGalley for auto-approved Audiobooks and I came across this one and I'm so glad I did.

Call Me Athena: Girl from Detroit by Colby Cedar Smith is written in the form of verses and is based on the author's parental grandmother's life.

The book follows the story of three different characters whose lives are intertwined in one way or another.

The story beautifully captures the essence of hardships of life, the struggle to achieve freedom whilst staying true to your roots in a tender way and even then it doesn't shy away from sharing the brutal realities of the great depression, what's it like to be an immigrant, and how war affects people.

The desire to live a life with freedom takes the kind of courage that most people don't have and that's exactly what the message of this book is.

I especially loved the flashbacks Mary's story is prepped with.

I fell in love with this book overall too. It is just beautiful written with a flowery prose that never withers away.

The story is heartwarming and leaves you with a bittersweet ache in your heart. I'd definitely recommend it to everyone.

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I can't tell you how much I love this novel in verse. The audiobook was narrated very well by three narrators. The main character, Mary is a 16 year old in Detroit in the 1930's trying to find her strength, independence and voice. Told through the point of view of three characters (two of which are letters written back and forth between lovers around 1916-1918 ish) tackling immigration, war, depression-era struggles, this novel in verse is beautifully written. I was hooked from the beginning and enjoyed every minute.. only complaint is it had to end.

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I listened to the audiobook version of this title, adapted from the original novel-in-verse format. This was a quick read, though poetic and richly textured, from a historical perspective I hadn’t read about before in fiction. I was satisfied with the way that the multiple timelines/POVs related organically to each other in the world of the text. The love letters the main character finds, in turn narrated to the reader, expand her understanding of her family members’ immigrant pasts at a pivotal moment in her own journey toward self-understanding and self-determination. I found all of the plotlines engaging, and when they all came together in the end it had the desired emotional impact. I would recommend this book to adults and young readers alike!

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Absolutely lovely book! This is a quick read but so very good. The book is about a young woman named Mary in 1933. Her family is in the grips of the Great Depression. Her parents are immigrants. Her father is from Greece and her mother is from France. They are in the process of arranging a marriage for Mary to a man in their community who is much older. Mary is dead set against it. She wants to have a career first and then a family. During this time Mary discovers a pack of unsent letters in the cellar of the family’s apartment. They were written during WWI. The letters are signed with nicknames and Mary is left to figure out who wrote them.
The book is heartbreaking at times but has so much hope and love. This family loves each other. Even though at times they struggle with their relationships they come back together.
Thanks to @netgalley @andrewsmcmeel for an advanced copy of this audiobook. It is delightful!

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Thanks to NetGalley and Andrews McMeet Publishing for an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 stars

Beautifully written book told in three points of view. The main character is Mary, a teen living in the 1930s Detroit during the depression with her brothers, sister, and immigrant parents. Mary wants more from life than what her father and society will allow her. Colby Cedar Smith has some fantastic lines such as “your eyes are the color of cultures clashing”.

I had both the audio book and digital copy. I liked both and not sure I could pick one over the other if pressed. The book is written in verse so it flies by on the page and you can see additional author emphasis by how the words are grouped together and with italics. But the audiobook flowed well and the narrators had excellent emotion. I don’t like reading books on the NetGalley ebook app as you can’t highlight or search by word like on Kindle.

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Thank You, Andrew McMeet Publishing house & Colby Cedar Smith for providing me an early copy of this book to give my honest review.

Call me Athena it’s a book that would completely make you fall in love with the story.
I’m one moment I was just listen to the story and the other I was immerse completely in the tale. The writing of Colby Cedar Smith it’s bewitching.

The story follows 3 characters who have completely different but their tale started with happiness and then follows grief, loss, and heartbreak. Their story intertwined beautifully and they learn that their actions have consequences. I feel a super connection with Mary, every time she feels like everything was hopeless, sad happiness of emotion I felt the same way. Gio and Jeanne's story was so heartbreaking and I can see why they were so overprotective with their children. I hate it with all my heart Dominic and I was so happy when Mary dump the drink and Gio hit him. It was completely fulfilling. To be honest, when Billy come into the picture I thought that he was gonna a spoiled brat that only wanted Mary because she was beautiful but I was wrong. Billy won my heart like he did with Mary. In the end, I shipped them so hard. And Mary getting a job was so gratifying. Forsooth I would love it we would learn more about the future of the characters more about Billy and Mary future together.

I guarantee that you will feel all their emotions as your own. It’s thoroughly will recommend this book to everyone.

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Loved the story and the way the povs were intertwined, also the cultural references and the little things that for me a romanian ( country next to greece) feel normal but i know feel weird to americans were pleasently introduced in this book in a way that made me feel seen. I liked the narrators even tho Iorgos was a bit hard to understand because of the accent (i also have an accent so the difference probably made it hard) but i also appreciated that addition! A good book for sure !

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