Monday, July 27, 2015

#collaboreads: A Name in the Title

Some twins communicate in a secret language all their own. For Whiskey and Charlie Ferns, the two-way alphabet (alpha, bravo, charlie, delta) whispered back and forth over their crackly walkie-talkies is the best they can do. But as the brothers grow up, they grow apart. Whiskey is everything Charlie is not - bold, daring, carefree - and Charlie blames his brother for always stealing the limelight, always striving ahead while seeming to push Charlie back. By the time the twins reach adulthood, they are barely even speaking to each other.

When Charlie hears that Whiskey has been in a terrible accident and has slipped into a coma, he is shocked...although perhaps not devastated. But as days and weeks slip by and the chances of Whiskey recovering grow ever more slim, Charlie is forced to look back on their lives and examine whether or not Whiskey's actions were truly as unforgivable as Charlie believed.

What part of the book could you NOT get enough of?

I was completely taken in by this debut novel.  Two parts - the "issue" between Charlie and Whiskey and Charlie's dismay with marriage - both proved fascinating and really drew me in.  The novel was written mostly in flashback style which I enjoyed because each chapter seemed to give you more and more clues as to why the twins had drifted apart.  It kept me on my toes...always guessing what else might happen to further drive the wedge between these two.  At the same time, there is a whole second storyline revolving around Charlie and Juliet, his stunning live-in girlfriend of 5+ years.  Charlie seems to have a beyond absurd phobia of marriage...even after playboy Whiskey settles down.  I never did quite fully grasp his trepidation, but it kept me reading chapter after chapter.

How did you relate to/care for the characters?
What's your thought on the plot line and twists and turns?

There were twists and turns in both the current situation and the stories of the past as they unfolded.  Specifically, I was shocked when Whiskey came back from trip to Peru married to Rosa.  I mean, who does that?  At first I thought it was so unlike Whiskey, but then I realized it was exactly like his character to do something so random and life changing all at once.  It caused me to really look deeper at Whiskey's character.  Throughout the novel, you really only see him through Charlie's skewed vision, but when you stop to take a look at him on his own...he's really interesting. 

I also really like the part of the book where they contemplate turning off life support when Whiskey has been in a coma with no signs of life for months.  Obviously, this is no decision to be taken lightly.  The novel presents very well thought out arguments for all sides.  Each of the various points made complete sense so it really made me think about what I would do in that situation and how much of that type of situation can be selfishly motivated.  There was a similar (much more brief) look at the issue of infertility.  Both very relevant and deep concepts that really helped bring the characters to life.

What other books are like this one?
If none, did it remind you of a particular TV or movie with it's themes and characters?
Does it serendipitous-ly line-up with things going on in your life or the news right now? 

Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley is similar in many ways.  It also deals with a character in a coma while loved ones debate what to do next.  Generally, the sibling rivalry issues remind me of SO many characters on TV and in real life.  Sibling relationships can be quite complicated and tricky for many people.  This book does a great job of presenting a number of sibling rivalry issues and allowing you to think through them in your own way as you continue to learn more about both Charlie and Whiskey.

Part of why I enjoyed this book so much is that I always wanted to be a twin.  Always.  Even though the book pointed out many of the not so great things about it, I still wish I had the experience.  My brother and I were close and dressed alike often as youngsters so sometimes people thought we were twins.  And I had a best friend growing up that had a birthday the day after mine so we often referred to ourselves as twins.  But neither of those situations exactly fit the script of completely sharing your whole life with another person from the beginning.  Going through the good and the bad of life with an identical partner-in-crime.  It seems so exciting to me! :) 

You know you judged this book by the cover. What did you think of it? 
How did it relate to the contents of the novel? And the font and layout of the pages? 

The cover for this book is perfect.  I love how it shows one brother (Charlie) as slightly shorter and giving the other brother (Whiskey) an absolute look of admiration.   They look exactly as they are described in their early years.  

In terms of layout, the chapter titles were by far the most unique way I have ever seen chapters labeled.  It was fantastic how the author used the walkie-talkie code as chapter titles.  It was exciting to discover how the story in each chapter was going to relate to that particular code word.  Some of them were pretty creative.  In between every few chapters, there was an update on the current status of life in italics.  Perfect layout for the novel! 

How many out of five do you give this book?
Would you recommend this book to a friend?

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.  I really enjoyed it!  The characters are unique and fun to get to know.  The story is captivating and leaves you thinking about what you would do in a variety of situations.  I would certainly recommend reading this novel!

Andrea :)


  1. I've never heard of this one before, but I was hooked just from the summary! Adding it to the list. (That's the biggest problem with #Collaboreads: I end up with way more books than I could ever realistically get to reading!)

  2. I haven't heard of this book before, but your review is awesome and I can't wait to check it out. As an only child, I've often been fascinated with the dynamics of sibling relationships and rivalries. But twins, oh my goodness! They are extraordinarily fascinating. :) Thanks for sharing, book buddy, I'm adding it to my list! :) xo

  3. Sounds like a really interesting book!

  4. I've really been loving books with lots of flashbacks lately! Context is one of my top 5 strengths (from StrengthsFinder), so I really love hearing backstories. This sounds like one I need to add to my list!

  5. Ummmmm, this feels like it's RIGHT up my alley. Like right up it. Because it deals with hard things. I think there's something to say for novels that can take us to places of deep thought where we're working through things we had no clue were issues or struggles that are real life for other people. :)

    Got to go add this to my To Read List. :)

  6. This sounds SO COOL. It's already on my list to pick up soon-- thank you for sharing all of your thoughts so thoroughly! You have me completely intrigued by this one!