Mark grapples with the loss of his twin sister in this heart-wrenching novel of grief and resilience from National Book Award finalist Carrie Arcos.Mark knows grief. Ever since the accident that killed his twin sister, Grace, the only time he feels at peace is when he visits the bridge on which she died. Comfort is fleeting, but it’s almost within reach when he’s standing on the wrong side of the suicide bars. Almost.Grace’s best friend, Hanna, says she understands what he’s going through. But she doesn’t. She can’t. It’s not just the enormity of his loss. As her twin, Mark should have known Grace as well as he knows himself. Yet when he reads her journal, it’s as if he didn’t know her at all.As a way to remember Grace, Hanna convinces Mark to complete Grace’s bucket list from her journal. Mark’s sadness, anger, and his growing feelings for Hanna threaten to overwhelm him. But Mark can’t back out. He made a promise to honor Grace—and it’s his one chance to set things right.
Thank you to Simon Pulse, Edelweiss and Book Nerd Tours for the review copy! This in no way affected my views of the novel.
Me reading this book is very timely with the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign as it features a Filipino main character. When I learned that that’s the case, my interest for the book skyrocketed. It is very seldom to encounter Filipinos in literature, and a protagonist at that. Plus, it’s a book dealing with grief and I love to cry myself to sleep with those.
Mark Santos was driving at the Colorado Street Bridge with his twin Grace when a car swerved to their lane and crashed their vehicle. He watched Grace die and ever since then, has been a prickly porcupine driving everyone away. He barely passed junior year, hasn’t been sleeping well, goes to the bridge where his sister died. The anger and the guilt he feels are so palpable that I just want to hug him. I’ve read novels dealing with the grief a parent’s death brings but I can’t even imagine losing a twin. There was this bit where one of Mark’s support group in Twinless Twins explained that a twin is an individual but that they have a unique sense of identity. Even before their birth, they have operated as a “we” and to lose your twin would be to lose that “we”. But since you’re twins, your twin feels like he or she is still there with you and you still feel like a “we” even though physically, you’re just an “I”. I admit to crying to that. I admit to crying a lot of times with this novel.
Mark is “acting out” but you can’t fault him for losing interest in everything when nothing makes sense – how his twin sister is now dead. There Will Come a Time chronicles a period in time where he learns not to feel guilty about being alive, having a support group, trying to forgive his mom who left them when they were young, not owning all the grief, understanding that he’s not the only one who’s in despair, forgiving the guy who hit their car and most importantly, deciding to honor Grace by living his life. The novel is a slice-of-life one, starting with the summer before senior year, continuing to Mark’s senior year. In the span of the novel, he meets new people, gets in a fight with people he loves, makes up with them, pushes his boundaries, puts himself in other’s shoes and of course, completes Grace’s Top Five Things To Do This Year. His journey, although still ongoing, was heartbreaking but in the end, it will put a smile to your face while your tears are still streaming down. That was a perfect ending to this novel, Carrie.
As for the writing, it will just wring your heart out with its beauty and simplicity. Grace was a writer and a poet, although she kept her poems in her journal. This was one of hers and it’s just gorgeous. Carrie, I cried reading this. I cried a lot. You just know how to get it out of my tear ducts, huh?
“If I could tell you, I’d start with how I think you look in the morning. It’s not all sunbeams and dew and mountaintops. It’s more sleepy eyes and messy hair and pillow lines on your cheek from resting so hard.
If I could tell you, I’d start with how I’m feeling. It’s not all butterflies and passion and my heart skipping a beat when you walk in the room. I am scared and shy and overwhelmed.
I’d tell you not to say those words, the ones you’re hiding in plain sight, the ones that will turn kisses and holding hands into promises. I want to say wait.
Wait. Slow. It. Down. I’m not ready.
Time is churning, spinning, swirling us into infinity. I want to open my arms, lie on my back, and let the current take me. Close my eyes and not think about what is ready to pull me into the deep, pull me under. I don’t want to think of forever and ever and ever. I want to follow where the water leads, which is to this moment.
This moment is not forever. This moment is me and you and us in time. This moment I want to tell you everything, but I can’t because I am not everything and you are not everything. Not everything needs to be spoken. Because when you or I speak things, they come to be. Our words become worlds where people dwell and live and hurt and laugh, and there’s no destroying what our words create.
If I could tell you anything it would be that I am here with you now. And that’s better than forever, because lots of things can happen between seventeen and forever.
So I will simply take your hand, kiss the tips of your eyelids, and walk with you toward tomorrow.”
I rest my case. There Will Come a Time is a simply written yet wonderfully heart-tugging novel about loss and moving forward. Moving forward is not about forgetting but it is about acknowledging your loss and still living and not just existing because your life is a gift and with a gift, there should be no guilt. *sobs and hiccups*