Gemini is a bittersweet blend of mystery and realistic fiction. Cassella deftly delves into two poignant tales that converge in the end to a truth that salvages both stories as well as both protagonists. Although I question parts of the plot and feel a bit unsatisfied with the ending, Gemini effectively evokes memories of childhood and the troubles of adulthood, tying together the past and present in a neat little package.
In Seattle’s Beacon Hospital, Dr. Charlotte Reese’s new patient is a mess of open fractures and blood clots. Dubbed Jane Doe because of her unknown identity, this patient is a potential hit-and-run victim who hasn’t been claimed by anyone yet. In the process of keeping Jane Doe alive and finding out who she really is, Charlotte also starts to question her relationship with her boyfriend Eric, a science journalist.
In another time and place, thirteen-year-old Raney Remington’s friendship with the twelve-year-old Bo grows despite her Grandpa’s disapproval. But Bo only spent that one summer in Quentin, and Raney doesn’t see him again until years later, when they’re both in college. Their romance ebbs and flows, and it seems like the time is never right. And when Charlotte, Eric, Raney, and Bo’s paths finally cross, hard decisions will be made and relationships tested when shocking secrets and pasts are revealed.
The characters in Gemini are relatable and emotionally delicate, and the stories of their lives evoke feelings of tenderness and nostalgia. Charlotte is a doctor I wouldn’t mind having – she’s caring, thoughtful, and dedicated, and her struggle to keep Jane Doe alive is touching. Charlotte’s relationship with Eric is also realistic… no insta-love or anything! They’re comfortable around each other, and although Charlotte’s the main character, Eric’s character also develops more as the story progresses.
Raney and Bo both come from broken families, and that common thread seems to make them more attuned to each other’s thoughts and feelings. Raney hated Bo at first for being a city boy, and at the beginning, I kept thinking that Raney was so mean for placing Bo in uncomfortable and difficult positions. But they were just kids, and it was fun (and kind of sad) to see how they’ve changed when they meet each other again years later.
Raney’s Grandpa has got to be my favorite character in this book. I have a soft spot for grandparents, and Grandpa here is loud, gruff and rough, but really sweet when you look beyond the exterior. Watching Grandpa grow old is a real tear-jerker because he was Raney’s only family, but it was one of many things that made Raney’s life unbearably sad to witness.
The real climax of the story is set up at the intersection of all of these characters’ lives, and up till that point I didn’t really get where the story was going. The title of this book only truly fit after a surprising revelation near the end, and I don’t know how plausible that revelation is in real life, but it was intriguing, that’s for sure. The story wrapped up nicely on a hopeful tone, and yet I’m left feeling just a little bit unsatisfied because the mystery wasn’t truly solved. I mean, I know what really happened, but the characters in the story don’t get the benefit of reading through their life stories. (And it’s not much of a medical mystery since the medical part of the mystery is pretty minor.)
Gemini is a fascinating and intriguing story that goes beyond the One True Love trope to explore the complexities of platonic and romantic love. Cassella skillfully weaves two stories together to create a bittersweet and emotional read, and if you’re in the mood to read about a more realistic (albeit sad) portrayal of love and life, give Gemini a try.