"See Through Me" starts with Katie coming back to her small home town. She left a year ago, and coming back now solely to help her father out who is in serious trouble. Katie is not exactly looking forward to it and seems reluctant, fearful even to all the gossip that certainly will spread.
Jump forward (or a jump back if you will) since it´s a story about a live long friendship that starts when both, Katie and Ash, were toddlers already.
Ash´s parents are not exactly a dream-come-true family, and it touches serious topics like child abuse and neglect. Katie is the one where Ash goes to comfort himself that everything will be okay, and for me this plays an important rule in her later relationship to eachother. Seen from hindsight of course.
Ash is a sweet, intense, broken but not really bad guy, while Katie is the runaway girl. He has his rage issues, and anger management might be recommended. A typical possessive alpha male as seen so often / almost always in New Adult. Katie on the other side knows more what she does not want than what she wants. Being an responsible adult, iE when she has to deal with issues on her father´s behalf, is not something she is comfortable with. Katie is constantly on the run, she lies her way out of troubles or disappears in the middle of the night instead of facing problems. She is trying, though. The worst probably is - and that is a compliment to Sera Bright - that those reasons make sense. I can totally understand why both turned out the way they are as adults. It seemed like a logical conclusion when seeing their lives as children. It´s not a comforting thought.
The most confusing parts were certainly the alternating and constant past/present POV switches. I was not always certain about Katie´s "voice" and those flashbacks. Did I read her remembrance of a time that was once and not is anymore, being iE a 13yo girl, or scenes as her younger self? It sounded too similar for my taste and it throw me off and out of my reading flow a little too often. While the narrative voice was certainly enjoyable a bit more distinction would have made things easier.
Even so Katie´s parents themselves were certainly not ready to raise a child either. Her dad makes often clear that her mom left because she couldn´t and didn´t want to deal with a kid. He himself is basically constantly absent, so there you go. Way to raise a child, and the hints of some probably illegal activities doesn´t really help either. The irony is insofar that Katie is constantly reminded that she looks like her mom, or acts like her, while she is trying to be everything but her.
I especially enjoyed Sera´s writing style. She often throws in a sentence at the end of a paragraph where she made me think: yes! that´s it. "See Through Me" has it´s fair share of hauntingly, achingly beautiful and also melodramatic moments. It´s an emotional landscape of dreams and regrets, of hopes and fears. As a whole the book brings out all the emotions. Sometimes more openly, sometimes in a more confusing manner but as every good book it doesn´t jump on one straight away. More like it makes its way into one´s mind to find its place. There is a dark energy at work in "See Through Me" which effects the mindset while reading it. It makes one feel naked in all those different, often contradictory emotions re-lived. I feel there is a gut-wrenching honesty in Katie and Ash´s story that is haunting for what is worth. Yes, it might be too overblown at times, maybe cheesy even but it doesn´t make it less beautiful, less true. There is a brokeness in those two that is intimate, but not final. I have faith.
Especially enjoyable I found the sarcastic personality of Katie, while some of those inner monologues are a bit repetitive and might not do all that much to bring the story forward. It is a fast read in the beginning until it slows down towards the end, even I cannot really nail it what makes me feel that way. Maybe all those unresolved questions, the self-reflection and inner thoughts, which is not a bad thing at all.
While there is a strong personal relationship between Ash and Katie the story itself does not end with "See Through Me". Since it is not a *true* stand alone novel it remains to be seen how often a story can be told. I hope at least twice. There are questions left that still needs to be answered (Katie´s dad - I mean where is the bastard exactly?), or seeing Ash´s POV. It will be interesting to compare how much his story differ from Katie´s, or how much they share. Everyone has a different angle, and what is true for one, doesn´t have to be true for the other. And yes, sometimes there needs to be more than one story told to understand, truly understand, what is happening in someone´s life.
(Legal disclaimer: I received a free ARC copy from Sera Bright in exchange for a honest review.)