The Found Jar – Jaycie Morrison

Rating: 4 out of 5.
This wasn’t what I was expecting when I picked up this book based on the blurb, but I’m glad this book was more than the blurb suggested. It’s a book full of unexpected depth and humanity. I can imagine it will probably divide people but I really enjoyed the approach.

Emily is a horror writer. She’s had a difficult past and uses her writing to maintain some control of her life. She keeps her friends, if you can call them that, at arms length, has no close family and believes she isn’t deserving of more.

Beck had a traumatic brain injury in her youth. She’s never left her hometown, still lives with her mother and takes odd jobs here and there. She longs to buy a boat and follow in the footsteps of her father.

I really appreciated how Morrison manages to illustrate that trauma does different things to different people. Both MCs have experienced trauma and loss that has made them who they are and her characterisations almost depict the two opposites of possible reactions, Emily pushes people away through mean words in an effort not to be hurt, Beck tries to bring people closer to her. Having them fall for each other despite the many things they have to work through makes for a really good read.

I don’t have experience of traumatic brain injuries, but I felt like Morrison explored Beck’s injuries in a way that is both understandable to the reader, but that also expresses Beck as a really great character. Her mother’s worries about her and the way Emily refuses to treat her as anything other than an adult works really well. Morrison also manages to express the additional impact Emily’s harsh words would have on Beck without making the reader feel sorry for her.

I am sure that Emily probably won’t be a popular character, but I can completely understand why she is written the way she is. Her journey is one of my favourite parts of the book, and whilst she falters, making for a hard read at times, it’s a worthwhile narrative to explore.

The pacing of the story works really well – the twists are effective and provide empathy for both characters. I found myself not wanting to put the book down as I needed to know how it would turn out. There are also cats – a definite bonus in my book.

This isn’t the easiest book to read, the trauma both have experienced can be a difficult read and there are flashbacks and nightmares on the page. There are times when discussions are downright mean. There are also incidences of discrimination towards Beck, both for her sexuality and her injury.

This is Morrison’s first foray into contemporary romance, and I hope this continues. I’d definitely recommend giving this book a go as it brings a different approach to romance than I’ve personally encountered before in the wlw arena and for that reason alone it’s worthwhile giving it a try.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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