e-ARC, 368 pages
Release Date: February 18, 2014
Published by: MTV Books
Source: NetGalley (A huge thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this to me in exchange for a just and honest review!)
For fans of: Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Tear Jerkers
Laura Wiess captures the visceral emotion of a girl’s journey from innocence to devastating loss and, ultimately, to a strange and unexpected kind of understanding—in this beautiful and painfully honest new novel.
Are there any answers when someone you love makes a tragic choice?
Before and After. That’s how Rowan Areno sees her life now. Before: she was a normal sixteen-year-old—a little too sheltered by her police officer father and her mother. After: everything she once believed has been destroyed in the wake of a shattering tragedy, and every day is there to be survived.
If she had known, on that Friday in March when she cut school, that a random stranger’s shocking crime would have traumatic consequences, she never would have left campus. If the crime video never went viral, maybe she could have saved her mother, grandmother — and herself — from the endless replay of heartache and grief.
Finding a soul mate in Eli, a witness to the crime who is haunted by losses of his own, Rowan begins to see there is no simple, straightforward path to healing wounded hearts. Can she learn to trust, hope, and believe in happiness again?
This one caught me completely off guard. The tragedy that's mentioned is NOT what I was expecting. It brings up the big issue of depression and a sense of loss that I've never read in a YA book before. And for this to be realistic fiction, it didn't feel like that at all. Why you ask? Because the characters and their emotions felt entirely TOO real to be fiction.
"'Semper Fi," he says softly, and closes the screen. "Always faithful."
The character and the emotions were what drove me to love this story. Everything felt so real and the emotions were so raw. It physically hurt me everytime I read this book. Why? My EYES were super red and ridiculously puffy most of the time I was reading this. I was so invested in this book that I found myself reading it and sniffling from it at work. That's just how real everything felt to me.
"'We grow up believing that bad things don't happen to good people... but sometimes they do. It's a hard truth to accept, that life is not fair."
Another thing I really loved was although it was a contemporary, it wasn't necessarily a contemporary romance. It wasn't centered on their feelings for each other. Don't get me wrong, Eli is definitely swoon worthy, but the book is more about Rowan's growth. Eli is a huge part of this because he helps her in so many ways, but at the same time, he is not the only thing that gets her thorough. Some things she used her mother for and other things it was just a mere cat.
"'Funny how nothing can turn into something when you least expect it."
This tale of gripping emotion and wonderful characters focuses on something that not many other YA reads have focused on. I really appreciate that. SO many books now are the same or about the same thing. But not this one. She dared to be different and believe you me, it's a winner.
Overall, I give this