Jazz Moon is 22 years old, has just found her first real job, and wants to be a writer. Olivia Moon is 18 years old, has synesthesia, and sometimes fools around with boys more than she should. When their mother dies in questionable circumstances (accident or suicide?), the family deals with the gaping hole in the best ways they know how: their dad gets drunk, Jazz gets a job at a funeral home (the same one that served their mother), and Olivia stares at the sun until she is blinded. When Olivia sets out with her mother’s ashes to visit a spot that is significant in their mother’s life, Jazz is forced into her familiar (and unwilling) role as her sister’s guardian. What happens on this unplanned trip changes them both.
The story is told in alternating voices—Jazz’s and Olivia’s, with their mother’s letters to her estranged father thrown in as well. One of the most remarkable aspects of the book is how Olivia and Jazz are so different from one another, even openly hostile to one another much of the time, yet both are completely sympathetic characters. The synesthesia provides opportunities for Walsh to use images and metaphors that just make this book sparkle. I don’t say this much, but really, everything about this book was perfect: lots of symbolism, if you like that kind of thing, lots of character building, and an ending that both surprised me and hit just the right tone. Loved, loved, loved this book! 5/5*