July 11, 2023

Do you think Natalie was right to have called the police on Lynn and Jake? Do you think it was fair that they in turn blamed her for Carlos’s death and being sent to prison?

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I found it hard to believe that the family blamed Natalie for her siblings going to gaol. They were the ones doing hard drugs. Their own choices sent them to gaol. They should have taken responsibility for their own actions. This bothered me throughout the book.


Yes, she was right for calling the police. She was trying to help Lynn. They were not fair in blaming her for Carlos’s death and being sent to prison.


I think Natalie was right to call the police. It didn’t seem like she was calling the police “on” them. It felt like she was calling “for” Lynn. Natalie was young and didn’t understand the consequences of her actions. She didn’t realize that they would be taken to prison. Her primary concern was with Lynn’s health since she it her head so hard. Also, from the way the situation was described, it seems like Carlos would have overdosed even if the police weren’t called, in which case the police would’ve come anyways. I fully understand her siblings being upset, but… Read more »


I think that some of her motivations were petty, but overall it was the right thing to do and her siblings were absolutely ridiculous to blame her for what came about as the result of their own poor decisions.

Holly Boyd

yea, it was the right thing to do because honestly you don’t know how many others might have overdose. teenagers think they are invisible.


Yes, she needed to call the police or help asap. Her brother & sister were doing heavy drugs and she was young and upset when she walked in snd saw what was going on. Carlos did shoot up all of heroin as soon as he heard that the police were there but I think he would have done it even if the police weren’t there! Getting sent to prison was harsh especially for young adults but they no longer used drugs.


I work in corrections and absolutely, Natalie needed to call the police, what else could she have done? Maybe her siblings would have overdosed as well. Carlos was a loose canon, if not that day another day. They are lucky they only got 3 years and Natalie can feel bad about that but she is not responsible for their choices, so hopefully she forgives herself.


She was absolutely right to call the cops. She was only 18! They should have been begging her for forgiveness in my opinion. I agree that the friend deliberately overdosing at that moment seemed confusing.


I understand why Natalie called the police. She was angry and wanted to lash out but also frightened because her sister was injured and and she didn’t know what else to do. However it bothered me that the author never pointed out they were doing hard drugs and it was a serious situation. It is possible that either one or both of her siblings were headed down a dark path that would have destroyed their lives completely. They were adults and doing hard drugs on a regular basis, perhaps already addicted. Also it didn’t make sense that the friend chose… Read more »


I think the story doesn’t ring true, prison is not a place to go and get clean, there’s plenty of drugs on the inside if someone has a problem with drugs and wants to use. Natalie states that her brother had been emaciated for a while prior to the incident, which eludes to the fact that he was likely well into his addiction already. In order to get clean and stay that way, an important step is taking responsibility. While Jake may have taken responsibility for purchasing the drugs, it sounds as though neither he nor his sister ever took… Read more »


It seems the motivation behind calling the police that night was that she felt pushed around and had just been dumped by her boyfriend. She says “I wanted to hurt you.” That seems to be where her guilt lay.


So first responders were already on their way yet there was no hope for the poor guy who was overdosing? While technically plausible, it feels more like the author decided this person needed to die so the siblings go to jail and the main character is blamed for eternity. What’s most unbelievable is how NO ONE in any character’s life has recognized that calling 911 likely saved the lives of the siblings. It appears they were headed down a very dark path and this very likely straightened them out before they reached a point of no return. How did Natalie… Read more »


I completely agree. It didn’t make sense to me that the boy hears that the police are coming so he decides to take an extra dose of some drug it’s like he intentionally decide to kill her self versus getting the heck out of there taking the drugs with him. I don’t think this is the best focus that the author could have come up with

Patricia Ramirez

We’ll, he could have been thinking that he’d better get one more high before the police arrest him. Like stuffing yourself on the last piece of pie before someone else eats it.

Barbara Bohling

What would have happened if Natalie had not called the cops? How would the death of Carlos been explained? Wouldn’t Lynn & Jake still have gone to prison?


Natalie was 18 at the time of the event. A teenager coming home and finding her older siblings and friend with heroin laid out on the table. It was Carlos’ choice to inject himself with a lethal dose instead of leaving or facing the cops. Natalie had to carry the weight of guilt with her for many years. The guilt of accidentally sending her siblings to jail. Was she in the wrong for calling the cops? Absolutely not. I would have done the same thing in her shoes. She saw her sister bleeding from the head, hard drugs were on… Read more »

Patricia Ramirez

I agree completely!

Belinda Hall

I think Natalie saved Jake’s life. He was doing herion. I think he should have thanked her.


Agreed! I was thinking this throughout the story.

Patricia Ramirez

I think he realized that she did him a favor. He got right with himself and became a success.

Ramona Taylor

I think that it was appropriate for Natalie to call 911 to request an ambulance for Lynn. I think that she told the 911 dispatcher about the illegal drugs in the house because she was angry with Lynn about Lynn’s comments about Dos rejecting Natalie. I don’t condone drug usage, but Natalie did not report the drugs out of concern about her siblings’ drug usage. I don’t think that Natalie was responsible for Carlos’s overdose. Carlos could have left before the police arrived. He did not need to inject the drugs.

Eden Connor

I think Natalie is the family scapegoat and it’s disturbing that literally nobody in the book ever realized this, especially Natalie. The mother was dysfunctional and yet, even after her death, nobody seems willing to hold her to account. Her significant issues just get…hand-waved by her children and her boyfriend, when the damage she did to her offspring was significant. Birth control was widely available, but she has three children she’s unable to look after in the absence of a man. Had she been present, I doubt her children would’ve been doing heroin, but Natalie’s the problem? She has two… Read more »


I definitely don’t think Carlos dying was her fault. He made a choice and it was final. We all have to own our choices and sometimes other peoples good or bad. Their parents behavior probably left them with their behavior. She had to call the authorities but they are consequences to that too . They all need therapy to get to why it happened not that it happened. They (her siblings had to be angry at someone and when things happen you don’t want to be mad at yourself that’s why looking inside can help.


Of course, she was right to call the police. More than likely she saved the brother and sister from a future overdose or longer prison time. The brother would have gone on a bad path and missed out on being a talented researcher. Aside from the sister marrying an ass and staying with him, she also made a life with a wonderful son.


Jake (eventually) admitted that he and Lynn were responsible for having bought the illegal drugs…. Would Carlos not have overdosed even if the cops were NOT called? I think he would have…. The mother also was blame-worthy having left her 3 teenage children on their own without adult supervision…. Natalie was NOT at fault AND she thought her sister needed medical help…

Wendy Orrison

I agree with most of the other comments. It was absolutely necessary to call 911 when her sister has a bleeding skull and someone has overdosed on heroin. I did not like Lynn at all. She never seem to grow up, and keeps blaming her sister for the night that her friend died is irrational. Lynn needs to get to therapy for lots of stuff and stop blaming her little sister for her horrible actions and attitude. Was the idea that by calling the police Carlos then overdosed …was that a key timeline piece? Certainly they could not have just… Read more »


i think so but she was angry so she made a quick decision. She needs to realize risk versus reward they needed a wake up call. They took care of her so it felt like disloyal. I understand and I am grateful I don’t have this problem with my family


See didn’t have a choice really her sister was bleeding from the head they were all dangerously high it was the only way and if they hadn’t gone to prison they probably would have stayed that way


If she hadn’t called the police and Carlos still died, what was the plan? Lynn and Jake would hide the body? It’s best she called. I’m still trying to figure out why her mom was so terrible to her afterward.

Kathy Morrow

I am so disappointed that the author implied to have called the cops in heroin possession and use could have been wrong!! Only Carlos died-had she not phoned then -there would have been other parties and even her sister and brother could have died. Also unbelievable to me was the immediate connection between nephew and Aunt -all in all the book was simply dissapointing.


I think if it was my bother and sister. I would have called the cops .

Dennis Raffaelli

She was right to call. Someone was injured. Her brother and sister needed to experience the consequences of their actions. Her brother would not have gotten better if he had not gotten better.

Dennis Raffaelli

Meant to say if he did not go to prison


She probably stopped a far worse outcome from happening to her siblings. Gave them a chance to turn things around. I know people in recovery that have said in retrospect jail was the best thing to happen to them.




While I believe her siblings needed to acknowledge that Natalie did the right thing calling the police all those years ago, there is still a learning moment for Natalie to see what other actions could she have taken. She continued throughout the story to take quick actions without thinking about all of the outcomes. It is a trait she needed to focus on and redevelop.


What other actions could she have taken? Lynn was bleeding and Carlos was dead on the floor. The only option was to call the police.

Ramona Taylor

Carlos died after Natalie called the police. He injected the drug after he realized that Natalie had called the police.


I agree with most of the posts above. Jake and Lynn were the older, (more responsible.) siblings but the way they behaved toward Natalie was completely unreasonable. Natalie was 18 and scared. They should have been more concerned with her and with what the effect of their actions were on her. It appeared that she was expected to be responsible for everyone who wasn’t able to be responsible for themselves. Why was her one action to rescue them the only one that everyone remembered and everyone else’s action given a pass? Why was this attitude the only one anyone thought… Read more »

Mary Rose

Was this book a YA book?


It definitely read like one. The main characters all seem really immature which might add to it.


I’m glad I’m not the only one who had issues with this. I get that Jake and Lynn would be angry at first, but they never said, “Hey, you did the right thing,” to their sister. I felt that she had called because Lynn was hurt and things were out of control. What else should she have done? And then, at the end when a violent person had already hurt her sister, Natalie had been gaslit to the point where she was afraid to call the police. I enjoyed the book for what it was, but the whole “you shouldn’t… Read more »

breck Steele

Totally agree

Angela Hansen

The book really just dealt with Natalie’s guilt feeling that she was responsible for her siblings’ incarceration. Her siblings didn’t really absolve her of her guilt. Nor did her siblings acknowledge that Natalie’s calling 911 may have saved their lives and Carlos may have died of an overdose anyway. There were so many things the book left unaddressed including the mother’s grief and absence. Perhaps it was a literary choice to focus on the story from Natalie’s perspective so the book wasn’t too long.


I enjoyed this book! Families are complicated and complex and I think we all yearn for that closeness. Despite their hardships, with their father dying and the instability of their mother, I think there was a good enough foundation. I think Natalie had good intentions in calling 911 as she feared for her sister’s life. In the same well-intentioned way, she signed Kit up for school. In both situations she did not see/consider the bigger picture. As well, the death of Carlos was a unfortunate outcome. She was 18 and upset when she called 911 which was probably a good… Read more »

Brandy Becker

At 18, with her sister hurt and being fearful, no adults available to intervene, and drug overdosing, she really had to even if she did do it out of spite. Her concern was real.


Personally, especially as an 18 year old in that awful situation, I probably would have caved to the pressure from my siblings a bit- I probably would have thrown Lyn in the car and driven her to the hospital and not called the cops.


This premise of the book never made sense to me, and the continued references to everything being Natalie’s fault just really annoyed me. How the siblings or her mom believed that, and continued to believe it for all these years, makes them seem like terrible people. And then people in the siblings’ lives knew it and thought she was a monster because of it (Jake’s coworkers). And Buck, who seemed reasonable and kind, never once reached out to her out of concern? And the brief mention of an insight from therapy wasn’t strong enough to get Natalie to stop taking… Read more »


I agree. I found the premise unbelievable and it cast a shadow across every page. At every mention of her guilt, I cringed. I could not believe that her siblings did not take any responsibility for their heroin use and the subsequent events.

Paula Beck

Sheri I agree with you And the romance annoyed me


I completely agree with Sheri. Calling for help was completely reasonable and it was a major drawback for me that nobody said so. When Buck entered the story near the end, I’d predicted that Jake would be with him, but I’d also expected that he would be the one to explain that Natalie was “not guilty.”
And like Paula, I found the love interest somewhat silly and shallow. The best relationship described in the book was that between Nathalie and Kit. It was thoughtfully developed and that’s what kept me reading.

Brandy Becker

Yes, I agree. We teach our children about safety and 911. She did the right thing. Her siblings were the ones in the wrong.


Totallly agree !!!!


Agree with all you wrote! I found myself constantly muttering ..”that would not happen in real life” while reading this book! I also found the cat character completely unnecessary…or it should have been a dog!


I agree with Sheri and Janey. But Janey, you are obviously not a cat person. Not only was Penguin an engaging character in his own right, but he served several purposes. He helped to break the ice between Natalie and Kit, and his disappearance gave Natalie the reason to keep delaying her departure.


without a doubt she should have called 911, more than 1 person could have died that night.

I was surprised that Carlos’s death was seemingly blamed on Natalie and I don’t recall a point when anyone ever told her her it wasn’t her fault.

I understand the anger her siblings held on to, it’s a sad situation but I am glad they were able to work through that as they grew all be it independently of one another


The way it was written, he heard she was calling the cops and injected a whole needle in his arm. Sounds more like suicide than manslaughter to me.

Is that common in California to go after the kids who brought the drugs to the party, rather than after a dealer or something? Especially at their ages – even the older siblings were barely 21.


I didn’t take her actions as calling the police “on” her siblings. I assumed she called because of Lynn’s injuries.

The entire incident was a big mess. Carlos literally overdosed because the police were called. Was he afraid that the police would take the drugs? So instead he killed himself. Perhaps prison saved Lynn and Jake from themselves. They were heading down a path of destruction.


This is the only part of the book I had a problem with. It just doesn’t seem believable the way it’s written. I wish the rift had happened because of some more realistic circumstance. It was certainly sad though, especially her mother’s reaction to it all.


Like the others who responded to this question, I think Natalie was right to call 911. It’s not like they were smoking cannabis-they were shooting heroin and someone was dying, while her sister bashed her head. Things were out of control. I wished that Lynn and Jake had come to the realization that Natalie’s actions probably saved their lives and a world of hurt. Continuing down the path toward drug addiction was destructive and suicidal. That doesn’t mean that I support the criminal justice apparatus with their war on drugs that was characteristic of the criminal justice system in the… Read more »


Yes, of course. I can understand why Lynn and Jake can’t get beyond it, but not their mother. The poor kid did the right thing.


These older siblings were supposed to be acting, functionally, in loco parentis for Natalie — or at least Jake was. Could they not see how irresponsible it was to treat Natalie this way? As an 18 year old, she’s legally an adult but she absolutely needs parenting. And to alienate her for trying to take care of a basic safety need?? And her mom thinking it was okay to send her off and tell her to never come back, and expect that Natalie would initiate contact at some point?? It’s absolutely fine to have emotionally immature characters in a book,… Read more »


I agree with your assessment of the book.


This storyline confuses and frustrates me because Natalie keeps being told or telling herself that she called the police out of anger and spite towards her siblings, when it felt like she did it out of fear and love to make sure they didn’t die or hurt themselves. I don’t understand how she could be blamed for any of this when really her siblings should be taking the blame and feel guilty about Carlos and rather his death should have been a wake up call.


First of all, this takes place in CA, so you would call 911 for police, fire, or medical assistance. Do I think it’s appropriate to call 911 for help when there is a person with a head injury? Of course I do. More to your point, do I think it’s appropriate to “rat” on family when they’re breaking the law? If they are endangering the health of themselves or others, then again, yes. They were SHOOTING HEROIN, so by the nature of the activity people’s lives were in danger. This is the top of the iceberg of the ludicrous “moral… Read more »


I was surprised and disappointed that she didn’t call 911 a second time when her sister’s husband was battering her sister. It would have shown consistency if he being tge real adult in the room again.


I am not finished – but I am surprised that so far, Lynn has not accepted some responsibility for her role.


Given that Lynn’s head was bleeding badly I think it was the right move to call the police. Lynn could be seriously injured. The fact that Carlos decided to inject an extremely large dose because of that is not Natalie’s fault. It is also possible that had she not called the police Carlos would have lived. But given how much drugs they were doing, Jake and Lynn were not heading in a good direction and they could have been the ones to die.

Edward S

Yes, I didn’t understand this part. Why would he inject more because the police were on there way? If anything, they might have saved him. Certainly today with the Narcan they carry, it would have been better. Again, the Carlos piece didn’t work for me.

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