Book Review: Sunburn


by: Laura Lippman

I received a free finished copy of Sunburn from TLC Book Tours and the publisher (William Morrow Books) in exchange for my honest review.  All thoughts expressed below are my own.

Synopsis (copied from Goodreads):One is playing a long game. But which one?

They meet at a local tavern in the small town of Belleville, Delaware. Polly is set on heading west. Adam says he’s also passing through.

Yet she stays and he stays—drawn to this mysterious redhead whose quiet stillness both unnerves and excites him. Over the course of a punishing summer, Polly and Adam abandon themselves to a steamy, inexorable affair. Still, each holds something back from the other—dangerous, even lethal, secrets that begin to accumulate as autumn approaches, feeding the growing doubts they conceal.

Then someone dies. Was it an accident, or part of a plan? By now, Adam and Polly are so ensnared in each other’s lives and lies that neither one knows how to get away—or even if they want to. Is their love strong enough to withstand the truth, or will it ultimately destroy them?

Something—or someone—has to give.

I've had Sunburn sitting on my TBR shelf for quite a while.  I received a copy as part of an Instagram book tour in order to post a photo of the book.  For some reason I never prioritized it as a book to read, but a friend recently mentioned she wanted a copy, so I read it in order to pass mine along to her.  

Sunburn is an easy read, which makes for a decent summer book choice.  I would classify it as more of a "gritty" novel - the characters are aren't especially like-able, they are poor, they live in a small town in Delaware, and they make somewhat shady decisions.  I'm not trying to say that there is anything wrong with being poor in a small, middle of nowhere town, but this isn't your summer escapist read.  

This was my first Laura Lippman novel and I went in somewhat blind to what it was about.  I did read the Goodreads synopsis (and that is why I copied it above).  As a reader, you know one of the characters is not being honest with the reader, but you never really know who until the very end.  That being said, I wish this had been hidden from the reader so that things would be a bit more surprising.  

This novel has several points of views, which I enjoyed.  I tend to get bored when there is only one narrator, especially if they are an unlikeable narrator.  I liked getting different perspectives and I liked that Laura Lippman used the multiple narrators to slowly unfold the backstory and give us little snippets of truth.  

For some reason, I simply didn't ENJOY this novel very much.  I feel like I have to justify this with one of those "it's not you it's me" type scenarios - I think I may have just read this book in too much of a time crunch or in need of a different, lighter read.  That being said, I like the ending and was able to quickly read the novel.  I think there will be tons of readers out there who have a totally different opinion that I did.  Why wasn't I in love?  Its hard to quantify...just know that I didn't love it or hate it, but rather lack some enthusiasm over it.

Sunburn is a gritty novel that is definitely a "slow burn."  If you are looking for a darker summer read that will keep you guessing about each character's motives, then this would be a great choice for you.


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