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From debut author Cole Nagamatsu comes an atmospheric contemporary fantasy about three teens coming of age in the wake of a mysterious death. Last summer, Link Miller drowned on dry land in the woods, miles away from the nearest body of water. His death was ruled a strange accident, and in the months since, his friends and family have struggled to make sense of it. But From debut author Cole Nagamatsu comes an atmospheric contemporary fantasy about three teens coming of age in the wake of a mysterious death. Last summer, Link Miller drowned on dry land in the woods, miles away from the nearest body of water. His death was ruled a strange accident, and in the months since, his friends and family have struggled to make sense of it. But Link's close friend Noemi Amato knows the truth: Link drowned in an impossible lake that only she can find. And what's more, someone claiming to be Link has been contacting her, warning Noemi to stay out of the forest.As these secrets become too heavy for Noemi to shoulder on her own, she turns to Jonas, her new housemate, and Amberlyn, Link's younger sister. All three are trying to find their place—and together, they start to unravel the truth: about themselves, about the world, and about what happened to Link.Unfolding over a year and told through multiple POVs and a dream journal, We Were Restless Things explores the ways society shapes our reality, how we can learn to love ourselves and others, and the incredible power of our own desires.


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From debut author Cole Nagamatsu comes an atmospheric contemporary fantasy about three teens coming of age in the wake of a mysterious death. Last summer, Link Miller drowned on dry land in the woods, miles away from the nearest body of water. His death was ruled a strange accident, and in the months since, his friends and family have struggled to make sense of it. But From debut author Cole Nagamatsu comes an atmospheric contemporary fantasy about three teens coming of age in the wake of a mysterious death. Last summer, Link Miller drowned on dry land in the woods, miles away from the nearest body of water. His death was ruled a strange accident, and in the months since, his friends and family have struggled to make sense of it. But Link's close friend Noemi Amato knows the truth: Link drowned in an impossible lake that only she can find. And what's more, someone claiming to be Link has been contacting her, warning Noemi to stay out of the forest.As these secrets become too heavy for Noemi to shoulder on her own, she turns to Jonas, her new housemate, and Amberlyn, Link's younger sister. All three are trying to find their place—and together, they start to unravel the truth: about themselves, about the world, and about what happened to Link.Unfolding over a year and told through multiple POVs and a dream journal, We Were Restless Things explores the ways society shapes our reality, how we can learn to love ourselves and others, and the incredible power of our own desires.

30 review for We Were Restless Things

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jessica | JustReadingJess

    We Were Restless Things by Cole Nagamatsu is a very unique novel. We Were Restless Things took me a while to get into, but once I got into it I was hooked. This is a very unique story. There is the mystery of what actually happened, the complicated relationship between the characters and so many revelations. One of the characters is asexual, which is a topic that isn’t usually discussed. I found this very interesting especially being in that character’s head. We Were Restless is told from multipl We Were Restless Things by Cole Nagamatsu is a very unique novel. We Were Restless Things took me a while to get into, but once I got into it I was hooked. This is a very unique story. There is the mystery of what actually happened, the complicated relationship between the characters and so many revelations. One of the characters is asexual, which is a topic that isn’t usually discussed. I found this very interesting especially being in that character’s head. We Were Restless is told from multiple points of view which really added to the story. I listened to the audiobook. Sophie Amoss and Tom Picasso did a good job narrating. At first the narration seemed pretty dry, but as the book went on they used more emotion so I enjoyed the audiobook. I think based on the story I would’ve preferred it not in audiobook. Thank you NetGalley and Recorded Books/RB Media for We Were Restless Things. Full Review: https://justreadingjess.wordpress.com...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    After falling in love with this spectacular cover and being intrigued with the promising paranormal, mystical plot, I was sold! I was definitely ready to go blind but in the middle of somewhere my mind screamed; “this is not working for me. This is not for me, this is book! I should break up with it ASAP! I’m slowly dunking into a mud and I cannot move my body!” Here are the facts: I was one of the most patient readers who are never afraid of long, boring, suffocating reads. But this time I gave After falling in love with this spectacular cover and being intrigued with the promising paranormal, mystical plot, I was sold! I was definitely ready to go blind but in the middle of somewhere my mind screamed; “this is not working for me. This is not for me, this is book! I should break up with it ASAP! I’m slowly dunking into a mud and I cannot move my body!” Here are the facts: I was one of the most patient readers who are never afraid of long, boring, suffocating reads. But this time I gave up because I had no idea where the story is going or what’s the author’s purpose to write it anyway. It started like a dysfunctional family’s introduction; Noemi’s coping problem with her step brother, her eerie communication with Link Miller ( they’re texting each other and Link Miller already drowned on magical lake in the woods but the authorities didn’t believe in magic and they decided he drowned in the dry land! ) attracted my attention because anything crazy, irregular, illogical always pick my interest. And Noemi thinks Link is killed and she also keeps another big secret. So I can hear you ask me what’s wrong with me. Isn’t it crazy enough for my own taste? The story started great but too many boring, aimless, flat characters, their irritating dialogues gave me second thoughts. Instead of Noemi, none of the characters are connectable. And in the middle of somewhere story’s direction lost in the mud or the secret, non-existed lake and drowned like Link Miller. It got slow down, more boring, more nonsense and I felt like I was Alice stuck in a literature Madland with triple sized big letters which try to devour me. As soon as suffocation took the driver seat of my bored to death mind, I finally decided to stop! It was enough! Let’s stay around %60 of the book I pushed dnf button and I don’t regret it. This is not the story I expected to read and I already lost my patience. Special thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire fro sharing this ARC in exchange my honest review. I wish I could like it more but this time story telling of the book didn’t work with me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    jenny✨

    10/06/2020: Happy pub day to this gorgeous novel! If I could make you happy, I might not deserve to be alone. This book is hard for me to encapsulate because it's a story I don't see very often in YA. We Were Restless Things is not plot-driven. The mystery of Link's drowning-on-land unravels not through clever detective work or unexpected twists, but rather in the strange minutiae of the lives of the people he left behind. Noemi, the prickly girl he loved. Jonas, the boy who never knew him 10/06/2020: Happy pub day to this gorgeous novel! If I could make you happy, I might not deserve to be alone. This book is hard for me to encapsulate because it's a story I don't see very often in YA. We Were Restless Things is not plot-driven. The mystery of Link's drowning-on-land unravels not through clever detective work or unexpected twists, but rather in the strange minutiae of the lives of the people he left behind. Noemi, the prickly girl he loved. Jonas, the boy who never knew him, now living in Noemi's house. Amberlyn, Link's sweet-tempered sister. This is a slow-burn story propelled by characters and atmosphere. I found Cole Nagamatsu's prose so beautifully evocative: the moon is eyelash thin, while the strange lake sprawls huge as memory. Worry and insecurity sow thistles in one's lungs. Each word feels precisely placed—and what the book lacks in action, it certainly makes up in elegiac lyricism. He was unraveled memory, a history and a heart broken open, left new and naked. If you've read A House at the Bottom of a Lake, I think you'll be familiar with the peculiar dread that haunts Noemi and her friends (and in turn, me) as they venture back to the disappearing lake where Link died. This book also reminds me of Sarah Rees Brennan (the Lynburn Legacy series in particular) and Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Boys. Here, the characters live in the fictional town of Shivery, where strange creatures dwell in the forests and special festivals are held every winter solstice. Our protagonist is a quirky girl who takes no bullshit (like Kami and Blue), and she's accompanied by flawed, angry, insecure boys (who've definitely taken a few pages out of the Jared Lynburn/Ronan Lynch handbook). I'm not opposed to meandering, character-driven stories, but it's ultimately a 3-star read for me because I didn't really love or connect with any of the characters. (Blue and her boys didn't do it for me, and neither do Noemi and hers—sorry!) I also found it baffling and a little unnecessary that literally ALL the dude characters in the book catch some form of feels for Noemi—including (view spoiler)[the fucking forest that murdered Link!!?? (hide spoiler)] Last thing I'll say is that it was pretty damn cool to read an asexual character (Noemi's ace) and have some wlw goodness on the side too. Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elle (ellexamines)

    This book feels good on paper: an emotional premise, eerie writing, representation, and an excellent ending that ties into thematic ideas. I only wanted more ensemble cast, and maybe a bit less of whatever was going on with the romance. We Were Restless Things follows the mysterious death of Link Miller by drowning… in the middle of the woods. In various ways, they all hurt from this: Noemi as she grieves for the boy she had feelings for, Amberlyn as she grieves her brother, Gaetan as he grieves This book feels good on paper: an emotional premise, eerie writing, representation, and an excellent ending that ties into thematic ideas. I only wanted more ensemble cast, and maybe a bit less of whatever was going on with the romance. We Were Restless Things follows the mysterious death of Link Miller by drowning… in the middle of the woods. In various ways, they all hurt from this: Noemi as she grieves for the boy she had feelings for, Amberlyn as she grieves her brother, Gaetan as he grieves his best friend, Lyle her friend, and new kid Jonah as he tries to find a place in their group. The indisputable best part of this book is the amazing imagery. This book was eerie and the more fantastical chapters are wonderfully written. They remind me of the best of Maggie Stiefvater. Noemi is asexual. This arc was by far my favorite in the book; she processes her sexuality in both healthy and unhealthy ways, depending on the time. The way her feelings about herself and more specifically, how people would perceive her, impacted her relationships hit me hard. When this came up between her and Jonah, it originally struck me as a romantic arc, but it’s really not; the focus remains on her development. I wanted a bit more out of her ending, if anything. Some very solid positives over here. Unfortunately, this was not a perfect reading experience for me. First of all, it’s a book that in structure does not pick up until around 50%. Until then, these characters are essentially just getting to know each other. This isn’t technically a problem. On its own. But besides Noemi, none of these characters feel as if they have a significant or resonant character arc. Who are these characters? I don’t feel as if I quite know. But We Were Restless Things left me craving… more from its ensemble cast. As we’re talking about the characters, I want to bring up romance. The dynamic between side characters Amberlyn and Lyle (yes, this is sapphic content) is solid and sweet. The other romantic dynamics… were another area. Noemi is, over the course of this book, technically lusted after by three different guys, one dead. Both of her romantic arcs are… frustrating. Jonah and Noemi are a well-written couple, except when the premise of their relationship is so fundamentally unromantic. Yes, I understand that two stepsiblings who know each other from childhood are very different from two people who meet for the first time at seventeen. I get that. But as someone who has a stepbrother, one, this entire trope is just nasty, and two, this book uncomfortably leans into that element of siblinghood. (view spoiler)[At one point, essentially, Noemi feels guilty about not wanting to sleep with Jonah, and when he traces the words I love you into her hand, she replies “stepbrother”. This… felt so incredibly uncomfortable. Just. I don’t know. If you’re going to do a romance between step siblings, which I would generally encourage against it has been done so many times you are not doing something new, there is no need to point it out like this. (hide spoiler)] On a more positive note, it’s interesting that this book that was comped to The Raven Cycle also contains two main characters whose relationship is not based on kissing, though for very different reasons. It’s one of those accidents that would still make a wonderful essay about parallels. To be completely fair to this book in criticizing it, I think I partially have shifted in what genres I prefer over the past couple of years. Had I read this at seventeen, high off my Raven Cycle phase, I’m fairly sure I would have enjoyed my experience far more. So if that’s you… this might very well be worth a try. It’s well-written, and though I wanted more from four of the five leads, they’re all likable. This had some good parts. I just do not think I was the target audience. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Spotify | About |

  5. 5 out of 5

    Melanie (mells_view)

    If only you could hold on to light, climb it out of the unknown. I’m going to be completely honest and say that I’m not 100% sure I understand what I just read, but I will say that I finished WWRT quietly crying. It’s haunting, magical, and a little bit odd. The writing has this poetic feel to it. Like each line is meaningful, even if you’re not quite sure what exactly it’s meant to mean, it means something. I feel like We Were Restless Things will be a story that people interpret and feel differ If only you could hold on to light, climb it out of the unknown. I’m going to be completely honest and say that I’m not 100% sure I understand what I just read, but I will say that I finished WWRT quietly crying. It’s haunting, magical, and a little bit odd. The writing has this poetic feel to it. Like each line is meaningful, even if you’re not quite sure what exactly it’s meant to mean, it means something. I feel like We Were Restless Things will be a story that people interpret and feel differently. There are so many difficult topics covered, some causally and some deeply, but still touched on and it’s interesting the way I could relate to each character in small ways. I don’t know what to say about this book other than that I enjoyed it, and it made me feel things. Like my little gray soul kind of shivered reading this. AVAILABLE NOW! *ARC

  6. 4 out of 5

    Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth

    Unfortunately this did not work for me, it couldn't hold my attention. It was boring, without any obvious direction, the characters were flat and annoying. This was nothing I expected from the blurb which was so promising. As always, keep in mind that this is my personal opinion and you might have a completely different experience! ARC provided by the publisher - thank you!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Virginie *No more time to write reviews for the moment :( *

    Adding a book because of its gorgeous cover: check!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Julie Zantopoulos

    "...the days I didn't see you at all, but I knew you were still out there, and I was so glad that you lived in Shivery and in the world and in my life..." I was really excited to be provided this arc that was part mystery and part fantasy. It's a true contemporary fantasy, in that it had mild fantasy elements but reads like a contemporary for 95% of the time. The writing is pretty, if odd at times. Toward the start of the book there's a description of kissing so long "her mouth tasted like raw ch "...the days I didn't see you at all, but I knew you were still out there, and I was so glad that you lived in Shivery and in the world and in my life..." I was really excited to be provided this arc that was part mystery and part fantasy. It's a true contemporary fantasy, in that it had mild fantasy elements but reads like a contemporary for 95% of the time. The writing is pretty, if odd at times. Toward the start of the book there's a description of kissing so long "her mouth tasted like raw chicken looked" and I just have no idea what that means. But in other parts of the novel, especially sections discussing dreams, the writing is very pretty. I'm not going to give you a synopsis, cause you're on Goodreads already, you know what this book is about. I will say that I could have done without the fantasy element of this book--but that's a massive part of the novel, Julie...yeah, I know. But, there was a lot going on in this novel without the fantasy element and it distracted from where I wanted to be. "He kissed her because she made him feel seen and significant, and he wanted her to feel the same way but didn't know how else to do it." This book has an ace main character who is in a romantic relationship and there's a lot of discussion about what that means for them and their partner. I am not ace and so I cannot speak to the representation but I loved the on-page representation and discussion. There's also an f/f relationship with POV characters that I can appreciate. A lot of the discussions that take place are important, aka toxic masculinity, male insecurity over body image, sexuality, loss, grief, unrequited feelings, betrayal, guilt, etc. All of these are dealt with in ways that I found to be thoughtful but again these are not things I've lived through so take that with a grain of salt. It was a 3.5 stars read but it fell flat in the whole fantasy aspect of the novel and some of the ways the characters spoke to/didn't communicate with one another. Still, I can see this being some people's perfect brand of fantasy/contemporary mash-up. CW: loss of a sibling, suicide, self-harm, grief, domestic abuse, child abuse, abandonment by parent, obsession/stalking, bullying, and physical violence. Heavy topics: the death of a friend and sibling, abuse by a parent, abandonment by a parent, homelessness, sexuality (exploration and discussion of).

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bookishrealm

    Thank you to SourceBooks Fire for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All thoughts are my own. Well this is a first. I usually don't DNF, but I've been thinking about all the books I want to read lately and I won't waste anymore time reading books that just don't grab my attention. We Were Restless Things has an extremely interesting premise. I knew that I was walking into a contemporary fantasy; however, it was so dry. I'm more of plot driven narrative type of reader and this is c Thank you to SourceBooks Fire for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All thoughts are my own. Well this is a first. I usually don't DNF, but I've been thinking about all the books I want to read lately and I won't waste anymore time reading books that just don't grab my attention. We Were Restless Things has an extremely interesting premise. I knew that I was walking into a contemporary fantasy; however, it was so dry. I'm more of plot driven narrative type of reader and this is character driven. And that's perfectly fine. However, when your characters are dry/boring it's hard to connect to the story. I probably made it about 40% of the way through and I just realized that the story was headed in a different direction. It was less focused on Link and his drowning in this fantastical lake and more focused on the relationship dynamic between these dysfunctional main characters. And to be quite honest none of the characters felt well developed. I'm still not quite sure what the purpose of this book was to be honest. It had good potential but it wasn't enough to convince me to keep going. From what I did read, I would say that this book has trigger warnings for death and abuse.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kelsea

    Oh my gosh. This story was absolutely BRILLIANT. It was one of those instances where I (foolishly) figured, hey I'll just start this story and read a bit before bed. A few hours later... OOPS. I could not set this book down! It is definitely a book readers should go into with the right kinds of expectations. This is an atmospheric story with ghosts, mild fantasy elements, and really well-written character dynamics. There is a mystery element, but the story is slow-paced, primarily character-drive Oh my gosh. This story was absolutely BRILLIANT. It was one of those instances where I (foolishly) figured, hey I'll just start this story and read a bit before bed. A few hours later... OOPS. I could not set this book down! It is definitely a book readers should go into with the right kinds of expectations. This is an atmospheric story with ghosts, mild fantasy elements, and really well-written character dynamics. There is a mystery element, but the story is slow-paced, primarily character-driven, and hauntingly beautiful. I found it suspenseful start to finish. My two favorite parts of the story were this. First, the writing. Cole Nagamatsu writes the kind of story that's so easy to get pulled completely into, where you feel like you're there right alongside the characters. I loved the haunted woods, the impossible lake, and the strangeness of it all. Second, one of the main characters is asexual, and the way Cole incorporate's identity and discussion into the story is absolutely perfect. There was one squick element that I find a little difficult to accept in stories, but even that feels well incorporated into the story. Overall, this was a beautiful, dreamy, haunted story that's perfect for autumn! I'd recommend it for fans of slow, atmospheric ghost stories like Watch Over Me. 4.5 stars! Thank you Sourcebooks Fire for a free advanced digital copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Krysti

    A lyrical and haunting debut. WE WERE RESTLESS THINGS is a captivating new contemporary fantasy novel in which a boy is found drowned on dry land in the middle of the forest. His death is ruled an accident, but then his friends discover an impossible lake in the woods that seems to appear and vanish at will. A lake that calls to them, drawing them ever closer, forcing them to try to uncover its dark secrets before it can claim another.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

    This cover? Truly one of the prettiest covers I have ever seen. The premise also sounds really intriguing! I'm basically here for all of it fnjfsngjdfg

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stacey-Lea

    We Were Restless Things is a fantastical tale of a group of teenagers wading through life in the wake of a friends mysterious death in the forest of a small town. Our main lead, Noemi, finds herself experiencing some strange circumstances, starting with the fact she's recieving text messages from an unknown number claiming to be Link, the boy who drowned in a forest with no body of water. As she navigates between reality and her dreams that seem to be coming to life she begins to trust and rely We Were Restless Things is a fantastical tale of a group of teenagers wading through life in the wake of a friends mysterious death in the forest of a small town. Our main lead, Noemi, finds herself experiencing some strange circumstances, starting with the fact she's recieving text messages from an unknown number claiming to be Link, the boy who drowned in a forest with no body of water. As she navigates between reality and her dreams that seem to be coming to life she begins to trust and rely on those closest to her, each processing and dealing with their own grief. Going into this book I was expecting more of a dark fantasy thriller type of story but what I found was a lyrical dark fantasy. Much alike the writing of Neil Gaiman, I often found myself thinking of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, though there is a reason I couldn't quite push it to that four star rating. For the only part of this story I could not connect with was the main relationship. Not wanting to give spoilers this relationship simply made me a little uncomfortable and was the hardest thing for me to believe in (which is saying a lot when we're talking about a peculiar forest that seems to have a life of its own). While it did help discuss the concept of asexuality, which wouldn't have been possible without a relationship forming, I just couldn't take in. For the most part I really enjoyed my time reading We Were Restless Things and that cover is still just so damn beautiful! *ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest review*

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. We Were Restless Things by Cole Nagamatsu looks and sounds excellent. However, it just wasn't for me. I considered giving it up several times, but once I made it to the 60% mark I figured I might as well just keep going. In a way, it reminds me of The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, but it does not have anything that makes that all time favorite series of mine work. This is far to slow and boring for me to become invested and ve I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. We Were Restless Things by Cole Nagamatsu looks and sounds excellent. However, it just wasn't for me. I considered giving it up several times, but once I made it to the 60% mark I figured I might as well just keep going. In a way, it reminds me of The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, but it does not have anything that makes that all time favorite series of mine work. This is far to slow and boring for me to become invested and very little actually happens. I wasn't interested let alone invested in any of the characters either, and given that it's not a plot-driven story this didn't work for me either. I will say though that I certainly appreciated having the chance to meet another ace character, though. That doesn't happen nearly enough.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Sledge

    Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for and eARC in exchange for an honest review. We Were Restless Things follows people left behind by a tragic drowning of Link Miller. Noemi, his crush and one of his best friends: she works through Links mysterious death. It's so mysterious because Link was found miles from the nearest body of water. Noemi is receiving text messages from an unknown number claiming to be Link. What secrets could Noemi be keeping that could help solve this mystery? We also Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for and eARC in exchange for an honest review. We Were Restless Things follows people left behind by a tragic drowning of Link Miller. Noemi, his crush and one of his best friends: she works through Links mysterious death. It's so mysterious because Link was found miles from the nearest body of water. Noemi is receiving text messages from an unknown number claiming to be Link. What secrets could Noemi be keeping that could help solve this mystery? We also follow Amberlynn, Link's sister as she gets to know more about Noemi to feel still connected to a piece of her brother. Jonas, newcomer to town, has moved in with his father and his girlfriend, who just so happens to be Noemi's mom. Jonas learns how to blend into this small town while still leaving and impression on those who he finds impressive. What will be uncovered as we follow these characters throughout the span of a year and what is hidden in the woods? I adore everything about this book. So many sexualities, backgrounds, and personalities are represented here that you cannot walk away from this story without connecting with ATLEAST one of the delightful characters. They very much act their age, in they are wishy washy with each other at times, but what teenager isn't at times? The pacing is excellent for a story that takes place over a year's worth of time! Often you have a drawn out novel that covers just a few days or even weeks. I really appreciated that the author and her characters took their time to process their emotions/connections in a healthy way. My one teensy itty bitty gripe about this book is that once the twist is revealed it just doesn't give me enough time or even backstory for me to connect with it like I did the rest of the characters. This caused me to feel a little cheated out of a great opportunity, but overall I found it still an enjoyable bit of the story. In conclusion, five enthusiastic stars from me, I will be recommending this book to anyone that will listen. I highly recommend this story for anyone 13 and up as these characters do explore themselves (nothing graphic) and some of the subject matter is a little intense for younger readers. I'll be looking to pick up a copy when this gem comes out and hope you'll do yourself the favor of doing the same.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    A huge thanks to NetGalley, Cole Nagamatsu, and RB Media for providing me with an audio-ARC of this book. All opinions are my own. Wow. I honestly didn't know what to expect going into this book, but it intrigued me with the cover and the premise. It was definitely a ride and I liked it a lot more than I would have guessed. The characters in this book were fascinating to me and I loved watching their story unfold, though it was a slower story. This wasn't an action-packed story by any means, but A huge thanks to NetGalley, Cole Nagamatsu, and RB Media for providing me with an audio-ARC of this book. All opinions are my own. Wow. I honestly didn't know what to expect going into this book, but it intrigued me with the cover and the premise. It was definitely a ride and I liked it a lot more than I would have guessed. The characters in this book were fascinating to me and I loved watching their story unfold, though it was a slower story. This wasn't an action-packed story by any means, but it was perfect to listen to on audio. The description throughout was so vivid, I could actually envision what Noemi was dreaming and loved seeing her recreate her dreams with her friends in the forest. There was Ace representation in this book and I feel like it was done properly, I loved seeing that discussion, It was such an important, powerful moment. Jonas was a great character as well and I loved the dynamic he and Noemi created for themselves. The story had a decent pace, though I will say the only thing that makes it not earn an additional star is that things wrapped up a little more nicely than I would have wanted. It was a good read though, and the perfect slightly spooky story for this time of year.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Caidyn (he/him/his)

    DNF at 51% CW: death and grieving I wanted to like this book so much and, the thing is, that I was. But I was at 50% and I didn't have the motivation to finish it. It's a fine book. Interesting premise, good characters, good writing. Yet, the pacing is off. I kept wondering when things would start happening and I couldn't justify finishing it with how little enjoyment I was getting from the book. I wasn't hooked into it at all.

  18. 4 out of 5

    simone

    Overall, this book was beautiful. The writing and the mysterious atmosphere that lingered throughout the story is what drove me to continue. I went into this book thinking that it was going to be heavily focused on the mystery but it ended up taking a back seat to the contemporary aspects. It felt like I was waiting the entirely of the book for the plot to pick up, which it never really did. The characters were likable, though I only connected to a couple of them, and the diversity in sexuality wa Overall, this book was beautiful. The writing and the mysterious atmosphere that lingered throughout the story is what drove me to continue. I went into this book thinking that it was going to be heavily focused on the mystery but it ended up taking a back seat to the contemporary aspects. It felt like I was waiting the entirely of the book for the plot to pick up, which it never really did. The characters were likable, though I only connected to a couple of them, and the diversity in sexuality was nice to see. I absolutely loved Noemi (though she definitely suffered from the basic ~quirky~ girl personality type). Since I don't tend to love character-driven stories, I was left wanting more of the magic that was sprinkled within but overall, it was very enjoyable! Thank you to NetGalley for an eARC to review!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    I received this book from NetGalley and loved it, I couldn't put the book down and the cover is gorgeous.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    *I received an advance copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* 2.75/5 You could’ve been everything...but you weren’t. I honestly had no idea how to feel, or even piece together my thoughts once I had finished this. On one hand, there were elements that I really enjoyed, and would even go so far as to say I loved. On the other, there was so much here that put me off that it was impossible for me to fully be immersed. The magical aspects of the book- the lake and every *I received an advance copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* 2.75/5 You could’ve been everything...but you weren’t. I honestly had no idea how to feel, or even piece together my thoughts once I had finished this. On one hand, there were elements that I really enjoyed, and would even go so far as to say I loved. On the other, there was so much here that put me off that it was impossible for me to fully be immersed. The magical aspects of the book- the lake and everything that comes with it- was wonderful. It was easily the best part of this novel. Strange, unsettling at times...it was exactly what I wanted and had expected. Unfortunately, the parts involving the lake were few and far between. Most of the book felt like filler. A lot of wandering around and talking while nothing of relevance is actually happening. And then, there would be parts that made it look like the characters were going to actively pursue then mysteries of the lake but then...not? For some reason? For example, there’s a part where they had a clear opportunity to discover truths but then didn’t take it for seemingly no reason whatsoever other than to extend the page count. And from that point on, the opportunity was a constant and STILL it took them forever to actually pursue it. None of the characters, apart from Gaetan, who I greatly enjoyed, did much for me. I didn’t dislike them, but I never felt anything. I think this could be in part because many times I was told things about their personalities through the perspective of another character without being shown. One example I can think of off the top of my head is when Jonas is talking about Noemi and says that at school, she goes out of her way to confront bullies, speak to kids who look lonely. And yet, I felt like none of that was ever reflected in any of her actions. The (of course inevitable) romance between Jonas and Noemi I hated. Hate is a strong word, but it’s the truth. Firstly because I am so over these step sibling type romances, especially when another of the characters says that they look like one of those couples who could be cousins...yeah no thanks. Secondly because some of the things they did together were simply disgusting. Noemi at one point like...fed Jonas a cupcake from her own mouth? DIS.GUST.ING. I have no idea how you even do that, like if it just means she held it there for him using her teeth or like...she chewed and they made out? LET’S MOVE ON because I don’t want to think about that. The other romance, a sapphic (yay!) romance I didn’t mind. I thought it was cute. Not much to say about it though, since it felt very backseat in comparison to everything else in the book. That’s another aspect I enjoyed- the representation. Of course we have our sapphic romance, but Noemi is also asexual. I can’t speak on whether this representation is great, but the book talks about it at great length, and Noemi even mentions that this is just her own experience and can’t say whether it applies to everyone else. While most of the book was boring, the ending was PERFECTION. It gave me everything I had hoped this book would be. Unfortunately it came far too late. One thing I do want to say unrelated to the actual content is that the cover is amazing. Good job on that front! This book wasn’t what I expected it to be, which was one more focused on the stranger elements. I’m not sure what type of person to recommend this to. Maybe it’s just one you’ll have to take a chance on and hope it works.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Aly

    2.5 stars I thought this would be more fantasy, but it was surprisingly contemporary and the mystery around Link's death and the magical lake seemed to take a back seat to the relationship drama. Because of this, I felt like the plot was so slow and wanted more of the creepy things going on. There are ghosts and dreamed up creatures and people dying, why didn't we focus more on that? Noemi is difficult to relate to, she almost comes across as neuro-divergent because of her difficulties socializing 2.5 stars I thought this would be more fantasy, but it was surprisingly contemporary and the mystery around Link's death and the magical lake seemed to take a back seat to the relationship drama. Because of this, I felt like the plot was so slow and wanted more of the creepy things going on. There are ghosts and dreamed up creatures and people dying, why didn't we focus more on that? Noemi is difficult to relate to, she almost comes across as neuro-divergent because of her difficulties socializing and relating to others, but that's never addressed. She can be too blunt and hurts people's feelings a lot. I did like that she wanted to protect her friends and went to lengths to do so. Jonas was kind of a boring character. He just sort of exists, he gets bullied but doesn't stand up for himself, unless he totally loses it and gets expelled from school. He also invades Noemi's privacy more than once and tries to act like a 'nice guy'. I didn't think he and Noemi were good together and their drama was boring. I think we really missed out on Amberlyn and Lyle's relationship, only seeing small glimpses of it. They were cute together but got little page time. I also would have like Gaeten to be more involved, he's probably the most complex character of the book. The mystery and magic had a lot of potential, but sadly wasn't the main focus. The ending seemed resolved too easily and I wanted more of creepy Link and his ghost. There were also creatures that we didn't learn about that I think would have been cool. This burned too slow and didn't focus on what I wanted it to. I did appreciate the LGBTQA rep and how asexuality was explained. I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  22. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I received a free arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I really wanted to love this book. For the first 1/3 of the book, I was so intrigued. The mystery of finding out how this boy drowned in the middle of the forest had me enthralled until the relationship took over the story. I didn’t care for any of the characters except for one, and the romance between the step-siblings bothered me a lot. Also, while I liked the side characters and their relationship, I received a free arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I really wanted to love this book. For the first 1/3 of the book, I was so intrigued. The mystery of finding out how this boy drowned in the middle of the forest had me enthralled until the relationship took over the story. I didn’t care for any of the characters except for one, and the romance between the step-siblings bothered me a lot. Also, while I liked the side characters and their relationship, I really don’t know what their purpose was in the story. On a positive note, I loved the asexual representation in this book. I’ve never read from/about a character that I related to so much. The asexual conversations between the two main characters were very well-done, but I wish that would have been the extent of their “relationship.”

  23. 4 out of 5

    Renee Godding

    2.5/5 stars

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ishi Time

    I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book cover is GORGEOUS and that is what first drew me to it. The synopsis sounded intriguing and the book was also compared to The Raven Boys, which is one of my favorite books. This book was as lyrical and whimsical as I expected it to be and overall, I enjoyed it. My favourite character was Noemi, and I looked forward to reading through her perspective the most. I really loved Link as well, even though he was I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book cover is GORGEOUS and that is what first drew me to it. The synopsis sounded intriguing and the book was also compared to The Raven Boys, which is one of my favorite books. This book was as lyrical and whimsical as I expected it to be and overall, I enjoyed it. My favourite character was Noemi, and I looked forward to reading through her perspective the most. I really loved Link as well, even though he was dead. The writing style was lush and imaginative; the metaphors were beautiful. It was like reading a dream. I also loved reading the dream journal entries. They were beautiful and nonsensical (in a good way). They were definitely my favorite parts of the book! This book came across more as a character study, which is not necessary a bad thing. The dream journal entries told us a lot about Noemi as a character, but did nothing to move the plot forward. I didn't see the point of Jonas having his own POV chapters since he spent most of his time with Noemi anyway. Though I think I might be a bit biased in my dislike for Jonas POV chapters because I found him particularly irritating. Amber seemed like a nice person but her chapters added absolutely nothing to the plot at all, though we did get to learn a bit more about her. Still, I thought that Lyle and Amber were pale echos when compared to Link and Gate, both of whom were strong characters I really liked. Sometimes even Noemi's "not like other girls" narrative got a bit hard to read about. Even though I liked Noemi, I found it hard to believe that she's fun and quirky and different and that literally every boy in the story was in love with her. Overall, I enjoyed it and I thought that the writing was beautiful. I am a character-driven reader, so I didn't mind that the book had little plot. *SPOILER* I did not like Noemi and Jonas' relationship AT ALL. I thought it was a bit unhealthy and that Jonas was pushy. It felt like Noemi was often rushed into making decisions that she wasn't ready to make yet because Jonas would constantly start with his "woe is me" monologue.

  25. 5 out of 5

    ♛ cameron ♛

    Half of why I wanted to read this book is because of how beautiful this cover is. The other half was because I heard people compare this to The Raven Cycle, and that’s enough to peak my interest in any book. After finishing this, however, I can easily say this is not like TRC. There is a mystery, there is a ghost boy, and there is a girl who isn’t afraid to speak her mind while somehow gaining the attraction of every boy she knows. But that’s where the similarities end. I feel like part of why I’ Half of why I wanted to read this book is because of how beautiful this cover is. The other half was because I heard people compare this to The Raven Cycle, and that’s enough to peak my interest in any book. After finishing this, however, I can easily say this is not like TRC. There is a mystery, there is a ghost boy, and there is a girl who isn’t afraid to speak her mind while somehow gaining the attraction of every boy she knows. But that’s where the similarities end. I feel like part of why I’m so disappointed by this is because it wasn’t magical. The book has “magical realism” listed for it, side note for goodreads to please stop tagging non-Latinx books as magical realism, so I assumed that this book would have magic to it. The comparisons to The Raven Cycle, a series where even the woods are magical, I had hoped for this book to have more whimsy. There’s a wood where a lake moves around sometimes, and the dead character is a ghost, I guess, but the magic ends there. The story just lacked magic, and that’s fine, but I feel like the cover itself even sets this up to be such a magic focused story. The plot itself was also uninteresting. I had hoped that there would at least be a compelling mystery, but even that seemed to drag on. The book itself doesn’t really have a plot. The beginning set the story up to be interesting, but then I learned that the beginning of the book wasn’t just an introduction, and that the entire book would be slow. There wasn’t direction. With books like The Raven Cycle series, it’s okay for the story to not have a detailed plot. The series has a beautiful writing style that carries the story, complex characters, and magic. I’ve already established the lack of magic in here, so I’ll discuss these other details. The writing in this book was quite nice. At times it was a bit much, but for the most part everything was very descriptive and lyrical. I’d be interested in future books from this author because of this writing style. The characters are all that’s left to talk about. I was really disappointed with how they turned out. Noemi is probably the most complex character, and she’s really the only one who needed a POV. I was happy with the asexual representation with here, and I love female characters that aren’t afraid to be rude. All the other characters really lacked, though. Noemi has two friends that are never anything more than just being her friends. Jonas was set up to be the other main lead, but his character never went anywhere. From here I’m going to get into the romance, so minor spoilers ahead. Throughout the book it’s established that all three of the major male characters are/were into Noemi. This becomes problematic, but I’ll get into that. There is Link, the boy who drowned and is a ghost (kind of). Before he died, he had an unestablished “thing” going on with Noemi. Then there is Gaeton, the bad boy with a heart, who is revealed to have loved Noemi all along. Their pairing seems forced and dumb. Sadly, the worst one is Jonas. Jonas is Noemi’s stepbrother. There’s no way to get around that fact. They are stepsiblings. They live together. They call the same person dad. Yes, there’s a difference between people raised as stepsiblings since they were young, and stepsiblings who only meet at seventeen, but they still meet as stepsiblings. Noemi is asexual, and she feels guilt over not wanting to sleep with Jonas, and the whole time I was just thinking, “please don’t feel guilting about not being sexually attracted to your stepbrother.” Not to imply that ace people should feel guilt at all. I just really hated it. Every romantic plot in here was frustrating, but I’m not going to get into it all so I don’t ruin the book for people. The plus is that there is a sapphic relationship in here between Amberlyn and Lyle, Noemi’s friends, though they get very little time nor development. I think I just had the wrong expectations for this book. I thought I was getting a mystery/thriller with magical elements, and this book wasn’t really that. I wish I could have loved this one, but I just didn’t.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Francisca Viegas

    Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire & Netgalley for an advance copy. My thoughts are always my own and are not influenced by the receiving of ARCs. 2.75 stars Congratulations to this book for its originality. It kept me guessing until the very last moment. While I did find it very unique both plotwise and in narrative style, it didn't completely work for me, and I'll try to explain why without going into spoilers. I'm not well-versed in YA mysteries so I wasn't going into this with a pre-formed idea. I'm Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire & Netgalley for an advance copy. My thoughts are always my own and are not influenced by the receiving of ARCs. 2.75 stars Congratulations to this book for its originality. It kept me guessing until the very last moment. While I did find it very unique both plotwise and in narrative style, it didn't completely work for me, and I'll try to explain why without going into spoilers. I'm not well-versed in YA mysteries so I wasn't going into this with a pre-formed idea. I'm still unsure whether or not that worked to my favor. This was a very introspective book, which is to say that we followed a lot of characters and their feelings about situations and there weren't very many action-packed moments. It is a slow book. Maybe this is why I spent about 75% of the book wondering about the genre. Is it fantasy? Is it not? I liked the journey of not knowing. However, this narrative style had its disadvantages. The main one I can pinpoint is one of the main characters, Jonas. Had I received this as a critique writing partner, I would have advised Nagamatsu to cut this character completely. Maybe if we hadn't been inside his head and the book was written in a different style, it would have worked, but the way it was, Jonas was boring and his whole character revolved around another character. To me, it seems like he would have been easily substituted by Gaetan who actually had an interesting storyline and would have made the book more interesting. One of the great things about this book that I think must be pointed out and praised was the diversity included. We have a female-female relationship with possibly bi characters but unspecified, and one of the main characters is asexual, which brought on a lot of conversation about asexuality between characters. The way the author handled this conversation might not have been the most polished of ways and might make some upset or uncomfortable but to me it felt completely realistic. Keep in mind that while I identify as asexual we (asexual people) are not a monolith and are allowed to have different opinions. One other thing I want to address is that this book has a main relationship between potential step-siblings. That in itself didn't bother me, but it felt unnecessary because it wasn't discussed very much. At one point there is a comment about how their parents won't get married because they "don't believe in it" and that's it. It felt weird to read about something like that without having the characters have a proper conversation about it and without the parents ever finding out. Finally, the last thing I want to mention is about the ending, so if you don't want to know anything about it, please skip this paragraph. I thought the climax of the book was resolved way too swiftly. The scene where the "villain" makes a whole speech, a monologue really, of its wrong ways cheapened the book a bit for me. All in all it was a nice read, even though I know it will not stay in my mind for long.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Toya (the reading chemist)

    In all honesty, the best part of this book was the asexual representation. Noemi questions her sexual identity and has a really amazing conversation addressing such. I think these types of questions and conversations need to be normalized in stories, especially when it comes to young adult, so that is my positive takeaway from this book. The rest of this book is just a trainwreck and not in a good way. The pacing of this story is painstakingly slow (which is saying something considering I was li In all honesty, the best part of this book was the asexual representation. Noemi questions her sexual identity and has a really amazing conversation addressing such. I think these types of questions and conversations need to be normalized in stories, especially when it comes to young adult, so that is my positive takeaway from this book. The rest of this book is just a trainwreck and not in a good way. The pacing of this story is painstakingly slow (which is saying something considering I was listening to this one at 2x speed) because this is a character driven novel. I am typically all for character driven novels but outside of Noemi, the other characters are just not particularly interesting. I also alm not a fan of the whole step sibling love story, so I was not invested in that plot line with Noemi and Jonas. The summary makes it seem like Jonas is simply a roommate that Noemi ends up becoming interested in, but they are in fact step siblings, so their love story was just not for me. Thank you to Recorded Books and Sourcebooks Fire for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: history of self harm, mentions of suicide We Were Restless Things almost felt like a bait and switch. Centered on the characters, Nagamatsu's debut unfurls slowly. At the beginning of the book, I was able to justify the slow pace because of the amount of care Nagamatsu took in creating these characters and their histories. With gorgeous prose, the characters are quirky and flawed, (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: history of self harm, mentions of suicide We Were Restless Things almost felt like a bait and switch. Centered on the characters, Nagamatsu's debut unfurls slowly. At the beginning of the book, I was able to justify the slow pace because of the amount of care Nagamatsu took in creating these characters and their histories. With gorgeous prose, the characters are quirky and flawed, but they also reflect the pieces of ourselves we see in others. And the people others see in ourselves, our lives, and our art. With on page asexual representation, I was willing to give We Were Restless Things second and third chances. There were elements, like Noemi's dream journal, which I wasn't sure where they were going, but the promise of the future enticed me. But as the story progressed, not only did I become a little more frustrated by the lack of action, but also the events that unfolded throughout the last third. I don't want to spoil the actual plot, but the twists, to me, felt anti-climactic and also confusing? full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Celia McMahon

    I once submitted my pitch to Cole in Pitchwars a few years back and I am so excited to read her debut!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Julie (Bookish.Intoxication)

    This book is thought provoking, omniscient and lyrical. It takes menial things and gives them such a magical and dream like quality. The characters are gritty, each with their own traumas and secrets, none of them are perfect or whitty or overly charismatic. They are real. They feel real. For the most part, it felt like the woods was our protagonist, I have never read a book like this one before, I wanted to know more about the woods, how and why it was created. Why it chose the little girl with w This book is thought provoking, omniscient and lyrical. It takes menial things and gives them such a magical and dream like quality. The characters are gritty, each with their own traumas and secrets, none of them are perfect or whitty or overly charismatic. They are real. They feel real. For the most part, it felt like the woods was our protagonist, I have never read a book like this one before, I wanted to know more about the woods, how and why it was created. Why it chose the little girl with wild hair to hold on a pedestal. We Were Reckless Things is a book unlike any other, cloaked in a dreamy quality, this book will have you engrossed for hours, trying to connect the dots.

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