Saturday, 20 February 2021

Tell Me Everything

Finished February 17 
Tell Me Everything by Cambria Brockman

This novel has three timelines. One of them is the narrator, Malin's freshman year at college. Another is her senior year at college. The third one is several years earlier, when she's a child at home in Texas with her family. 
Malin is going to college far from home, at Hawthorne College in small town Maine. She's requested a single room, and she doesn't have a friend network back home. In a way, she is looking to remake herself. On her first day, at an orientation session, she is befriended by an English girl Gemma, a theatre major, and brought into a group of friends that includes Gemma's roommate, Ruby, an art history major and soccer player. Gemma is extremely outgoing, but needing a lot of validation. Ruby also seems to have something in her past that she's hiding. 
The group also includes three guys: John, the son of an investment banker, but estranged from his father, who seems calculating and manipulative; Max, John's cousin, a pre-med student, close to his family and a guy who is watchful and caring; and Khalid, a prince from Abu Dhabi who is a bit of a playboy, but friendly and approachable. 
In freshman year, they're all finding their feet, tentatively choosing friends and setting themselves up for the next few years at college. By senior year, the six are living in a house owned by Khalid's family, and although they are all in different disciplines (Malin is in pre-law), they are also getting ready for life beyond college. Malin is also a watchful person, and she has concerns about both Gemma and John, and knows things about other people that they either don't realize that she knows, or that they've told her in confidence. 
Back in the earliest timeline in Texas, we see how Malin's parents are concerned about her older brother Levi, who seems to be exhibiting some dangerous behaviours. This timeline only emerges occasionally, and often with jumps of years, so we only see a few specific, yet important moments. 
It is only toward the end of the book that we see the full extent of Malin's story and what brought her to leave Texas and look for a fresh start. 
This is a book that has disturbing moments, and others that are quite prosaic as the plot slowly gets revealed. You know some crisis is coming, but it approaches very slowly. 

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