What I love best about Brigid Kemmerer books are that they aren’t written to be heavy. The subject matter may be serious, but there’s still always a lightness to the writing that makes them a joy to read. Despite the characters going through something awful the writing makes you feel like it’s okay to laugh and even creates moments and dialogue where laughing is even appropriate.
When I started Thicker Than Water the story was so weighted that I worried I wouldn’t get back to feeling light despite the strife, because this book was definitely harsh. Thomas is all alone, and he’s dealing with a lot and hurt is coming from just about everyone around him. He’s ostracized, abused, insulted, and all around treated like garbage. As the reader you believe that all of that is completely unfounded, because Thomas didn’t actually hurt anyone. It made me, the reader, very angry. It wasn’t only when Thomas had to interact with these a-holes either, it was also any time he wasn’t around and they were talking about him. It felt like there wasn’t anyone in town, outside of Charlotte and occasionally Stan, that found any compassion at all for him. He didn’t just lose his mother. He lived through a trauma. PTSD, people. Of course he’s angry and lashing out!
Luckily, though, I did find the lighter side of the story and it was all thanks to Charlotte’s best friend Nicole, who became a buffer between Thomas and Charlotte. She brought in the funnies when it was sorely needed. It was almost as though once Nicole showed them how to relax around each other Charlotte and Thomas started making me laugh, too.
The only complaint about this book that I’d have is that I think the story is too similar to Kemmerer’s previous series, The Elementals. In that series a group of brothers lost their parents and were attempting to live in a town where they were distrusted and bullied. Just like in Thicker Than Water there was an added supernatural aspect that impacted the plot. If she had ended this book by suggesting that Thomas was a long lost Merrick half-brother I wouldn’t have been shocked. Actually, I probably would have loved it because then it would have made sense that the stories were so similar and it would also have given Thomas a support system, because at least the Merrick’s had that.
All in all a good read by an author I can count on. I’m already ready for more.
Thank you to Kensington Books and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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