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review: “the invisible life of addie larue” by v.e. schwab

“addie larue,” despite its premise, is a book that’s going to be hard to forget. addie’s story is enthralling before she is remembered and it will continue to be after.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

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what do you do when after 300 years of being forgotten, you’re remembered? “addie larue” was a book that felt like it was speaking to me and only me. not because i want to live forever or felt extremely drawn to addie, but because of henry. when henry is first introduced as the boy who remembers her, we immediately see how special he is. but as the story continues and henry is given his own—much more than i expected for someone who felt like just a love interest at first glance—i found myself linking him to me. 

“Do you know how you live three hundred years?” she says. And when he asks how, she smiles. “The same way you live one. A second at a time.”

i read an interview with v.e. schwab on entertainment weekly where she told them that she “was so scared of not finding henry’s story that [she] gave him [her] own.” for me, this came through into my reading experience; where henry’s story was painful at times, but always viscerally real, that i connected his story to mine. where addie’s story is one of perseverance and dreams, henry’s is one where those moments of hopelessness and fear outweigh everything else. so, while this is addie’s story, it wouldn’t be hers without henry. he becomes so much more than the romantic interest or the boy she loves; he takes her story and intertwines it with his. their fates are linked together in such a way that made the ending of the novel that more impactful, with henry’s softness and addie’s determination coming through perfectly in their respective last chapters. 

“addie larue,” despite its premise, is a book that’s going to be hard to forget. addie’s story is enthralling before she is remembered and it will continue to be after—schwab makes sure readers know this in the book’s closing chapter. she’s strong and stubborn, soft and sweet. her moments of weariness and her moments of joy are almost impossible to not feel deep in your chest as you read. her story with luc and henry is so expertly woven that it’s hard to look away from, and the small details schwab weaves in make all the difference. schwab is at her best here, with the characters she’s created, the story she’s telling and the way she’s clearly poured everything into each and every page. it doesn’t feel like just a story—it’s tangible with every word. 

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