Mitchell Morrison and Josie Sedgwick have spent their whole lives at the Indian Paintbrush Community Village, a commune full of colorful characters tucked in the mountains of North Carolina, and they aren’t particularly close–at least, not anymore. Josie wishes she could spend all of her time at Paintbrush planting tomatoes, hiking the trails, or throwing giant communal birthday parties, while Mitchell can’t wait to escape the bizarre spiritual sharing and noisy community dinners. Luckily for both of them, high school graduation is just around the corner.
But when Mitchell’s mother makes a scandalous announcement that rocks the close-knit Paintbrush community, and Josie’s younger sister starts to make some dangerously bad decisions, the two find themselves leaning on each other for support – and looking at each other in a whole new light. Their childhood friendship blossoms in to something more as they deal with their insane families, but as graduation approaches, so does life in the real world, forcing Josie and Mitchell to figure out what, exactly, their relationship is – and if it can survive their very different plans for the future.
I started reading Paintbrush on 06/07/17 and finished it on 12/07/17. This book is just beyond any description – I loved it so so much! Paintbrush is a beautiful coming-of-age contemporary novel told in the perspectives of Josie and Mitchell – two teenagers who live in a community village which resides on one of the mountains of North Carolina. I absolutely loved the setting of the novel and I appreciated how nature is one of the main aspects of the plot (and doesn’t just provide a nice backdrop). The whole concept of the community village was unique and different from anything that I’d read before. I also really liked the depth and the diversity that this novel portrayed. The character building was amazing and the budding romance was so cute! This novel gave me so much more than what I’d expected and I’m so glad to have read it!
Coming to the writing, the descriptions were absolutely gorgeous! The writing style succeeded in creating a beautiful, rich and visual atmosphere which complemented the setting of the novel. Apart from the descriptions, the writing was also very raw and managed to depict the characters’ emotions very precisely. Also, it’s really important to change the writing style accordingly when authors write in a dual perspective. While reading I immediately knew whose point of view I was reading from and could distinguish between them.
The plot of the novel was very interesting. I’d definitely say it’s a feel good YA contemporary which could potentially help anyone get out of a reading slump. However, the plot is also serious and deep. I enjoyed diving into these characters as they tried to navigate their lives by altering their perspectives whilst trying to stay true to themselves. This novel teaches us to come out of our comfort zones and explore what’s out there. It also includes themes like parenting which is pretty rare in YA. The book also surrounds the act of forgiveness which I learned a lot from. The only problem I had with the plot (and the book) was that it became a little slow paced in the middle and I had to power my way through most parts.
Josie, our female protagonist, is a very determined character in the sense that she knows exactly what she wants. She usually doesn’t care about what people think about her and doesn’t bother to fit in. Her home is of utmost importance to her and she doesn’t want anything else from her life but to continue to live where she is. She is content and not willing to step out of her comfort zone – she would rather grow tomatoes at Paintbrush than go to college. She holds her family together and tries to be strong even though she is pretty scared most of the time. Mitchell, on the other hand, is a completely different person. He has led a pretty easy life and hasn’t faced anything life-changing or traumatic. Hence, he is easy going and doesn’t have to deal with anything other than school. He seems very confident, but in reality, he cares a lot about what people think of him and is willing to conform. He is also very ambitious and desperately wants to leave his home for bigger things in life. However, throughout the course of the novel, both of their lives begin to change drastically. Mitchell and Josie begin to reconsider their previous decisions and learn to deal with their new problems. During this difficult journey, they end up leaning on each other for support and ultimately fall in love – which becomes another challenge. I loved how the “coming-of-age” aspect of this novel was portrayed. The way the delicacy of character development was handled is something that should be appreciated.
Overall, I think Paintbrush was a very refreshing, tranquil and charming read and I rate it 4 stars! I was pleasantly surprised by this book and I highly recommend it!
*I’d like to thank NetGalley and Blaze Publishing for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review*
Hannah Bucchin has spent her life falling in love with beautiful places, both real and fictional. She grew up in charming Bethlehem, PA, went to college in sunny Chapel Hill, NC, spent a summer studying wildlife in Tanzania, volunteered on organic farms across New Zealand, and hiked all over Acadia National Park in Maine. When not writing, reading, or adventuring, she likes to daydream about the dog she’ll adopt someday, listen to music from the sixties, and exchange ridiculous texts with her parents and siblings.
Have any of you guys read Paintbrush? Let me know what you think in the comments down below!
Thanks for reading!