Title: A Sense of Infinite
Author: Hilary T. Smith
Release Date: 5/19/2015
Reviewed by: Willa
Hilary T. Smith’s novel Wild Awake blew me away. Her writing is stunningly gorgeous, and her novels are both unique and relatable. A Sense of Infinite, though, topped Wild Awake. It’s heart-wrenchingly beautiful, addicting, and just . . . incredible. In the wake of losing her best friend, Annabeth struggles to find people who get her, and I can relate to this. I understand how she feels: as if the people around her don’t understand her.
One of the main themes is Annabeth’s grapple with self-love and what she thinks people think of her. She’s very concerned with what people think of her, and the history of her birth used to make her believe that she is worthless. Noe pushed that belief away, and Annabeth tethered herself to Noe because of the way Noe made her feel valued and important. So when Noe pushes her away because Annabeth told someone about Noe’s problems, Annabeth returns to thinking that she is worthless; that her mother doesn’t love her.
“The snowbank didn’t want me. There was no use fighting. I don’t believe everything I hear in songs, but when you lie in a snowbank for an hour without falling asleep, the message is pretty clear.”
Annabeth’s story of finding a way to love herself and move on from her past touched me in a way few books do. Through the support of her incredible family (particularly Ava, her cousin) and Steven, Noe’s boyfriend and also one of Annabeth’s close friends, Annabeth begins to become someone who is happy. She has a future she is excited for. Her journey is one that all teenagers should hear about – her journey to health, to happiness, and to self-acceptance.
One element of this book that I think Smith did an incredible job with is Annabeth’s abortion. Annabeth makes her decision immediately, knowing she can’t take care of a child and more importantly, doesn’t want a child at her age. The way Annabeth approaches her decision and handles the aftermath wasn’t one I’ve seen in YA before. Usually, abortion = depression in YA, but in Annabeth’s situation it only helps her become someone who can love herself.
Hilary T. Smith’s newest book is a treasure. I wish every teenager would read it, because I know that it changed me. It helped me see the beauty of nature, of friendship, and of love – the self-love kind. A Sense of Infinite is absolutely stunning.