Thursday, June 27, 2024

Whoever You Are, Honey

Whoever You Are, Honey by Olivia Gatwood
7/9/24; 320 pages
Dial Press

Whoever You Are, Honey by Olivia Gatwood is a measured character study that explores the relationships between women. This is a recommended debut novel that flirts with being a thriller and science fiction dystopian.

After some incident when she was eighteen, Mitty left Arizona for to stay with an old friend of her mother's, Bethel in her dilapidated oceanfront home in Santa Cruz. She hasn't been home since. Mitty is now in her late twenties while Bethel is in her late seventies. A new couple has just moved into the house next door, Lena and Sebastian. Sebastian is a renowned tech founder and Lena is his perfect girlfriend. Mitty observed the couple after they moved in and soon she and Lena meet and begin to spend time together, forming a friendship. 

The narrative revolves around Mitty and Lena, their friendship and the secrets they both have. Mitty is hiding a secret and is hesitant to make friends because of it. Lena is uncomfortable with her uneven memory and the control Sebastian has over her. The plot is rather slow paced, basic, and Lena's secret is very predictable early on. I kept reading because the quality of the writing is excellent. I was expecting the pace, tension and action to increase and wanted to know Mitty's secret.

Whoever You Are, Honey would have benefited from more action, progression in the plot and the inclusion of more science fiction elements to build up tension while keeping the poetic language. What we have is beautiful, lyrical language about loneliness, friendship, memories, and seeking perfection. The inclusion of AI is very basic has been done before and with much more intensity, credibility, and caution. This wasn't a good fit for me. Thanks to Dial Press for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley . My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.

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