The Pastel Effect by Arly Carmack

First I would like to thank NetGalley and Reedsy Discovery for a copy of this advanced reader ebook! There are potential spoilers ahead.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this book! When I first started reading it, I found it hard to engage with. It felt forced and I just wanted to finish it. However, once I reached about 30%, I struggled to put it down. The book picked up and I found myself devouring it all at once.

While it was hard for me to relate to the main character, it was easier to relate to the storyline of her relationship with Cody. Most people have gone through the teenage angst of wondering whether a relationship is real, wondering if the feelings are real, and not knowing how to handle it. From this perspective, the book was very relatable. In terms of the mental illness aspect of it though, I found myself not able to relate simply as those circumstances do not apply to me. However, the author did a great job at bringing the conditions to light and making the reader see what it can be like.

I will say, I wish the book had ended differently. While I do like that now both protagonists have their own health aspects to take care of, it felt rushed and not fully explained. I would have liked more of a story line regarding their therapies together, their new family, and their healing progress. Maybe there will be a book 2?

Overall, I did enjoy this book and I’m glad I stuck with it!


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