Thank you, Jena Henry.
Review on Goodreads. Five star!
Symi is a Greek Island and a perfect vacation spot. Beautiful waters, bright sun and a happy atmosphere attract tourists from all over. A few years ago, Clair visited Symi as her 50th birthday approached. I read her story in the author’s first book, “Terrible with Raisins”. “Jisgsaw Island”, the author’s second book tells the story of Annie who is connected to Clair by the magnificent Aunt Maggie of Scotland. (Yes, you should read “Terrible with Raisins” and it’s been re-released with a gorgeous new cover. But you can read “Jigsaw Puzzle” first. It has a beautiful cover, too.)
I adored this book. It’s quirky and amazing. Don’t read it on a hot Greek beach, because you won’t be able to put it down and you will scorch rather than stop reading. For the first two-thirds of the book, I thought I was reading stream of consciousness. And Annie, the main character confirmed it. “I just open my mouth and the logjam of my life comes piling out.” “My stream of consciousness covers my adoption to Jude’s birth.”
Annie reviews her chaotic life up until she and her son fly to Greece. She lived in Anniesland, Glasgow. She left home as soon as she could and headed to London when she was 16. She might have considered it an adventure. I thought it was a disaster. She was there 6 months and then returned to her parent’s house, pregnant. She then manages to go to college and raise her bi-racial son. When Jude, age 13, starts to have trouble in school she decides to take him to Greece to visit her brother Fraser and give them both a new perspective.
The last third of the book is a psychological thriller and I never saw it coming. That is what is so amazing about this book. “Jigsaw Island” is a great name for this book, because it’s like a jigsaw puzzle. There are so many characters and viewpoints and you make judgments about their actions or thoughts and then you realize you were all wrong. You hadn’t put the pieces together correctly.
Author McVernon is a gifted storyteller and quite skilled at presenting well-developed characters. The book also casts light on refugees, prejudice, and mental illness. All in all, you must visit Greece with Annie! I received an advance digital review copy from the author. This is my honest review.