The Second Life of Ava Rivers by Faith Gardner is in the point of view of Ava Rivers twin sister, Vera Rivers. Ava is a little girl who went missing one Halloween night playing hide and seek with her sister Vera. Twelve years later, someone brings a girl to the hospital who they say is Ava. She got hit by a car and the lady who hit her brought her in. The nurse recognized her from a computer-generated photo made of Ava. She goes back with Rivers family and Vera tells the reader all about her life after getting her sister back.
I would recommend this book to someone who loves reading about mysteries or loves a book that has many different surprises all throughout the story. The Second Life of Ava Rivers will give the reader many different strong emotions. There are many different parts of this story that makes the reader want to keep reading. Like the part of one day Ava and Vera went out and Ava got lost and Vera heard that someone got hit by the subway train. I couldn’t stop reading until I found out what happened to Ava and who got hit.
Ava goes through dealing with talking to the FBI and cops and always having people around wanting to interview her. There is one interview she actually did for the Flora Daly Show. Ava grew up always wanting to go on this show and looking up to Flora Daly while she was locked up. While on the show, she gets asked if she would do anything to find her kidnapper and Ava says yes, but there are some parts she just does not want to remember. Daly says something again and Vera snaps and finally says something even though she was nervous to be on stage and just wanted it to be over. “You have no idea what she went through. Or how hard she works, every day, to be good and strong in the face of the swarms of reporters and cops and all you story-hungry people with your prickly questions. Trying to adjust to this life that is both her old and her new one at the same time. She’s doing her best and then some. She’s a hero.”
Vera is also falling for Ava’s childhood best friend, Max Spangler, but is afraid of letting something come between the bond of her and Ava. Vera and Max get closer after the day before Ava was found on the twin’s birthday when she saw Max and they talked. After that they hung out, and after Ava comes home one day Max comes over to talk to Vera when Ava is out with their mother. They talk about his mother being sick and also about in high school when someone started a rumor that Ava was under the football field. They tore up the whole football field and Max tells how he noticed the way Vera stared at the field when they were tearing it up. She is shocked he noticed her, the “incredible invisible girl” she called herself. After this night, they start hanging out more and more when Ava isn’t home.
On New Years Eve, Elliot, Ava and Vera’s older brother, wants them to come visit him for New Years. While driving to where he was, Ava tells Vera this is where she was at with the guy who kidnapped her when they were driving through Satterfield, California. Ava decides to show her which house was Johnathan’s, her kidnapper, and Vera was shocked because she acted like she did not remember anything the whole time. After, she makes Vera promise not to tell anyone. Keeping this secret just made it stay on Vera’s mind all the time. Finally, she decides to lie to Ava and say she’s going on a date when really, she went to visit Johnathan. When she got there his brother Pete answered the door. Johnathan had overdosed and was dead. Even though she got what she wanted, she was still mad and hurt because he “took the easy way out.”
Vera tries to keep Johnathan’s death a secret from Ava until she tells her one day when they are in the bathroom and Ava keeps asking what’s been going on because Vera has been acting different. Ava just goes quiet and walks to her room and shuts the door. For the first time, Vera decides to leave her alone. The next morning when they wake up, their mom and dad is gone. Everything seems off and they know something is wrong. They go out looking for them before reporting them missing. They search for the day and before going home Vera takes Ava to the spot Max took her before Ava came home.
Ava and Vera go home to see if their parents are home but they’re not. Before filing a report, Vera goes in their mom’s bedroom. She finds papers thrown away about DNA. Their mom and dad would not get the DNA tested to make sure Ava was theirs. When Ava comes in, they’re about to call the police. Before they could, they knock on their door. Their mom and dad are behind them. They both are crying and just walk in quietly and not saying anything. The cops take Ava and handcuff her while Vera is screaming for her and asking what’s going on and her parents finally say that isn’t Ava. Her name was Anna Joplin. Ava was found dead at a house where she went missing. She was locked in a refrigerator the night she went missing. Nobody took her, she went to hide when she wanted to play hide and seek in the yard of an abandoned hoarder’s house. She crawled into the refrigerator and got locked in. She was still in the angel Halloween costume.
After accepting Ava is gone they all start moving on with their lives and everything is starting to get better. They still really miss Ava, but now that they know she is gone it gets easier over time. Vera and Max go out one day and while walking he tells her he loves her. She ends up saying she feels the same. They start dating and they both go to college in Berkeley and move into a home with some others. Vera got an email from Ozzie one day with the address where Anna is staying. She decides to go visit her at the teen home where she is staying because she still thinks of her every day. She misses her and wants answers to why she did what she did. Everything Anna told about Johnathan and what happened to her was true, she just wasn’t Ava.
She gets there when visiting time is over, but the girl lets her visit Anna. They go in a room alone to talk. When Vera asks her why she pretended to be Ava for so long she tells her, “Can you imagine, for one sec, okay, that you had been a piece of trash no one ever wanted?” Vera can see the pain in her eyes when she looks at her. “Abused, raped, manipulated, locked away with no friend but TV. And one day you wake up in the hospital with a head that feels like a block of ice and everyone tells you you’re someone. And it seems familiar. Like déjà vu. You’re like, okay, so this is my reality. To top it off you’re surrounded by amazing people, with a house in a super sweet town where you’re all taken care of, and loved…and everyone everywhere thinks you’re a hero for surviving…which you did—survive—you survived your own horror story, you just had a different name—can you imagine, like, realizing you’re not that person, slowly, over days, but then, like… like, convincing yourself? Like, squashing down the knowing and saying, I am this person. Saying it enough that you believe it and forget about who you really are. Can you imagine the miracle of ending up there? Of looking exactly like the lost girl? Would you say something? Would you? Or would you roll with it and maybe even start believing it was true?” She believed she really was Ava at first and over time started realizing the truth. When their time is up, she asks if Anna can walk her to her car. She gives Anna the coat from when she stayed with her. She had a box with their wigs and some other things but decides to leave them in the car. When Anna walks back up to go inside Vera screams for her. She asks if she has her phone number. She says yes and Vera tells her not to be a stranger. When getting into her car they wave goodbye. She goes home to eat with Max and the others. Vera has been through a lot in her life. This book ends with Vera forgiving life, “I forgive.”