Author: Laura Anderson Kurk
Published by: Playlist Young Adult Fiction (2013)
My Rating: ★★★★★
Summary from Goodreads:
The ice cold fear I'd felt, not knowing if Wyatt was alive, pressed into the wall with other girls and surrounded by guys who were unspeakably brave, hit my body again in a wave. This was trauma--the gift that keeps on giving.
When Meg Kavanagh finds herself in the unthinkable role of grieving sister, she discovers some harsh truths--parents aren't perfect, life's not always sweet, and the dead don't write back. Her famous artist mom grieves by slowly disappearing, and her dad copes by moving them to a small town in Wyoming.
What she finds in Wyoming blindsides her.
His name is Henry Whitmire, and he shows Meg that the best things in life--like falling in love and finding mercy--require uncommon courage.
From young adult author Laura Anderson Kurk comes a heartfelt story with bittersweet intensity and emotional storytelling.
This was quite a read! I was captivated by the characters. While it was a little slow in the beginning, once I got into the flow of the story, I was hooked.
At the beginning, I was a little unsure of the story. It took a while for me to grasp the concept of the plot and what exactly it was; the few few chapters is just Meg’s emotions and memories, and not much really happens besides a bit of curiosity built up over Wyatt. After that, however, the story really picked up speed and before long I couldn’t put it down.
I loved the descriptive writing, the way the author drew the reader in so well. Everything was very realistic, very believable, and very touching. There’s mystery enough to keep reading, yes, but more, you read for the characters, to get to know Meg and Tennyson and Henry. Yet, if that’s not enough on its own to keep you reading, there’s also these subplots creeping in, of her mom and then of Tennyson’s issues and of course the romance.
I really, really liked the way the author did the Christian themes in this story. It wasn’t up in your face, but the answers are there, given naturally in response to the character’s questions, which is always the best way to reveal things. It was subtle but strong, sent all the right messages while still retaining a subtle feel. I especially liked this because I feel too many authors these days are trying to make super Christian-dominated books, but those books will never reach the ones they’re trying to reach. This book’s messages are subtle enough to not irriate the unbeliever, but strong enough to make them think, and I thought in this way the author was incredibly smart and talented in her way of revealing this.
I did have some negatives, though. I didn’t like Tennyson and kept waiting for a message to be sent about hanging with the wrong crowd, but that never came, so that was a disappointment. I was also very disappointed about the relationship between Henry and Meg. They’re a sweet couple, sure, and yes, things stay clean, but they’re kissing an awful lot for not even being sure if they’re going to date. Even when it is established they are in love, that doesn’t change the fact they kissed before Meg was sure they were, and so I was disappointed in the message it sent about that.
I think that’s it. Really good book. Slow at the beginning, but impossible to put down once you get started. Satisfying ending but realistic, and all tied together well. I’m not sure I’ll read the sequel if it’s all romance, but I do love the characters enough to consider it.