From the back of the book: Rose is disappointed with her life, though she has no reason to be - she has a beautiful family and a perfectly nice house in the suburbs. But to Rose, this ordinary life feels overshadowed by her other life - the one she leads every night in her dreams.
After a childhood accident, Rose's dreams take her to a wondrous island fraught with adventure. On this island, she has never been alone: she shares it with Hugo, a brave boy who's grown up with her into a hero of a man.
But when Rose stumbles across Hugo in real life, both her real and dream worlds are changed forever. Here is the man who has shared all of her incredible adventures in impossible places, who grew up with her, even if they aren't what either one imagined. Their chance encounter begins a cascade of questions, lies, and a dangerous obsession that threatens to topple everything she knows. Is she willing to let go of everything she holds dear to understand their extraordinary connection? And will it lead her to discover who she truly wants to be?
Since the time I was about twelve, I have often dreamed of a particular city. I could tell you about the riverbanks that I played on as a child--the same ones that I had late night bonfires on in high school. I could tell you about the shops and store owners on the main drag. I could tell you where to eat lunch, and where I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. I could tell you about the dusty library, and also about the tree that I picked ripe cherries from almost every day. This city was like the gatekeeper of my dreams--the place in which all of my other dreams occurred. I have often wondered how I would respond if I ever found the city in real life--would I want to pack up everything and move there? Would I drive out of town as fast as I could, never looking back? What would it mean if it really did exist?
Needless to say, the concept behind Hugo & Rose immediately caught my attention, and I couldn't wait to read it. Based on the cover and the summary, I expected it to be a whimsical and fun novel (probably a love story) with a fairly predictable ending. I was wrong.
In reality, Hugo & Rose is deep and it is pretty dark. It examined hard themes, such as how someone who seems to have a perfect life can still be exhausted, depressed, and just want to escape. It explored how one secret can worm its way into your life, slowly at first but quickly taking over every corner in a way that is completely terrifying. It allowed for twists and turns that I *never* expected, and certainly didn't see coming. The darkness of Hugo & Rose was unexpected, but wasn't a bad thing at all. I've never read anything quite like it, which is always a plus in my opinion.
Like all books that incorporate some magical realism (think The Night Circus or Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore), the plot-line does require a certain buy-in from the reader. If you can't get past the idea of two people sharing a common dream, then you probably won't enjoy this book. On the other hand, if you can get there even temporarily, then you're in for quite an emotional ride. If you're unsure, read an excerpt here first.
Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book for review through Net Galley. I did not receive any further compensation for this review, and all thoughts and opinions are my own. You all should know by now that I couldn't lie about a book even if I wanted to :)