Review: The Secret to Letting Go

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The Secret to Letting Go by: Katherine Fleet

My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

One summer can change everything…

Haunted with guilt after his girlfriend’s death, Daniel Hudson has no interest in committing to anyone. At the end of the summer, he’ll be leaving Florida for a new start in college. If only he could avoid the mysterious new girl in town, who seems every bit as naive and eccentric as she looks. Trouble is, she’s hard to ignore, with her beautiful piercing eyes, pitiful-looking dog, and unsettling tendency of finding trouble.

Clover Scott lived her whole life off the grid and arrives on the Gulf coast in search of her grandparents. She never expected to nearly drown, or get caught in a hurricane, or fall in love with the boy who rescues her. Now, she has a chance to rewrite her life’s story, to finally fit in somewhere, but Daniel wants answers about her past. When the police start asking questions about the disappearance of her parents, she must make a choice: go to jail or confess her secrets—even if they might destroy her chance at a happily-ever-after.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I had heard about this book through Twitter. At the time I didn’t think much of it. About a month later I read the synopsis and the reviews. The synopsis was interesting but there were several mixed reviews. After some contemplating I decided to read it. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

The book begins with Daniel working in his fathers shop. A girl who has just entered the shop catches his eye. She lingers in the golf section and seeing that she needs needs help he assists her. Eventually she asks him to show her some camp stoves. The girl can’t afford any of them. As she is about to leave Daniel stops her and mentions that his family has an old one that isn’t being used and he can lend it to her. They agree to meet at the beach the next day. The girl introduces herself as Clover.

For whatever reason Daniel can’t seem to get Clover out of his head. He’s not really sure what to expect when he meets her the next day. But for once he was able to pass Grace’s house without noticing. As Daniel gets ready to go to the beach he mentally prepares himself for meeting Clover. At the beach he meets some of his friends and they surf for a bit. He sees Clover talking to his sister Amelia and meets up with them.

The three of them introduce each other without Clover realizing that Amelia and Daniel are siblings. Clover then explains Amelia that she meet Daniel at the shop and how he agreed to give her his camp stove. And in exchange Clover has brought some preservatives. Just as she’s about to give the preservatives she drops it. When she runs to get it she gets caught in a high tide and goes under.

Daniel jumps in after her and manages to pull her up. The ER is called and everyone is fine. When the paramedics see Clover she refuses to got to the hospital. Daniel agrees to drop her off and to keep an eye on her during the ride. Clover remains silent during the car ride. She points to a house and gets out of the car. She promises Daniel that she will be fine. Daniel watches her leave. Out of some paranoia Daniel follows Clover. Much to his surprise Clover doesn’t go into her house but walks in the other direction.

This book was exactly what I was expecting. A fairly short heavy read with a huge emphasis on family. This book is written in first person and switches between Clover and Daniel’s point of view. There are some flashbacks here-and-there. The writing style was good. Clover and Daniel had distinct voices.

Two years prior to the book Daniel’s girlfriend Grace died. Since then Daniel hasn’t exactly dated anyone. Or gotten close to people. He has a in strings attached relationship with Morgan. When Clover comes into his life he’s surprised that he likes her and wants to get to know her more. Throughout the book Daniel continues to be surprised by Clover and realizes what he wants in life. I loved how well Daniel’s voice was written! Very realistic. 

Two years ago something terrible happened to Clover. She’s come to Daniel’s town to look for her grandparents. Upon arriving her car broke down so she couldn’t go any further. When she meets Daniel and he saves her life twice she develops feelings for him. Feelings that she’s never had before and doesn’t quite understand. Throughout the book Clover learns and experiences new things. She realizes that she can no longer hold on to her past and works to move on. Just like Daniel she goes after what she wants from life. I adored reading about Clover! Her voice reminded me of Lara Jean. She was so sweet and a delight to read about. 

I loved the emphasis on family relationships! Especially Amelia and Daniel! There aren’t a lot of books with well done brother and sister relationships. While Clover’s family remains a secret for most of the book it was nice reading about her interactions with Daniel’s family. Especially Ginny Daniel’s grandmother.

Amelia and Clover’s relationship was adorable and sweet to read about! It’s nice to read about female friendship. Most of Daniel’s friends don’t come in the book. The one friend that does come is Sam the sheriff’s son. It was nice to read about Sam and Daniel.

The mystery surrounding Clover’s past was a bit predictable after reading a few flashbacks. I didn’t guess a 100% correct but for the most part I was right. Nonetheless it was still heartbreaking to read about. It’s so sad to think that many people go through the same thing. The mystery surrounding Daniel’s girlfriends was revealed early on. Again this was just as upsetting.

The romance in this book was odd. It wasn’t insta-love more like intsa-attraction. This was done on purpose though. While Clover and Daniel are together they really grow. They realize that they need to work things out with themselves and kept in contact. I liked how their relationship was handled.

Personally I had no problems with The Secret to Letting Go. It just felt like a three star. Note there is abuse in this book. It is slightly dramatic and for most people the romance was off-putting. Also most people didn’t like the switch in point of view. The point of view switch isn’t predictable. I got used to it but not everyone will. If any of these things bother you I would suggest reading another book.

Overall this was a good book! I will definitely be keeping a lookout for this author. I recommend it to contemporary fans.   

Review: Girl Against the Universe

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Girl Against the Universe by: Paula Stokes

My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

From the author of The Art of Lainey and Liars, Inc. comes a fresh, contemporary story about one girl’s tragic past and a boy who convinces her that maybe her luck is about to change. Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen or Jenny Han.

Maguire knows she’s bad luck. No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. Like that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch. But then on her way out of her therapist’s office, she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star, who wants to help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away, but staying away may be harder than she thought.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I had heard about this book through GR. For awhile I was very hesitant to read this book. Not gonna lie but the first came across this book I only read the first sentence and immediately thought Maguire was crazy. I went back again and this time finished reading the synopsis and I actually liked it. A few months passed and I found out about the mental health in this book and I put it together. It’s not that Maguire is crazy but it’s because of several incidents that makes her believe that she is bad luck. Another reason I decided to read it is because of this post. In this post Paula Stokes had a guest post on The Midnight Garden. Paula talks about how anxiety doesn’t make us weak. She also mentions Girl Against the Against and all the research that went into the book. I was in awe after reading the guest post and decided to read it. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

The book begins in August and Maguire visiting her cognitive behavioral therapist Dr. Leed. For the first few visits Maguire doesn’t say much. She has no interest in seeing Dr. Leed and certainly doesn’t want to talk. One day she explains Dr. Leed about the car accident that killed her brother, uncle, and father, but she stayed alive. Then when she was 12 years old she went to a sleepover. Somehow all the other girls got food poisoning but she was fine. The girl who held the sleepover spread a rumor that Maguire was bad luck. After that Maguire put everything in her life together and started to believe it.

She begged her mother to homeschool her without mentioning the bad luck. Her mother said no so Maguire developed coping strategies. Every morning Maguire has a morning good luck ritual. She wears a lucky pendant. She does five second checks to look for any hazards. She knocks on wood or any other textured table three times. And has a luck notebook where she records every bad thing that has happened to her.

While this does work for her purposes she isolates herself from everyone. She spends most of her time in her bedroom and avoids everyone so that she doesn’t cause them any harm. One day her mother brings up her grandmother and going to visit their family in Ireland. Maguire has a breakdown because she can’t go to Ireland because that would involve traveling by plane. If Maguire were to go on a plane she wouldn’t be able to control her surrounding and it would become overwhelming to do her five second checks. Maguire is absolutely devastated because she would like to her family again. Maguire brings this up to Dr. Leed and together they come up with a list of seven tasks the goal being to go to Ireland.

I am a little disappointed that I didn’t like this book as much as I thought I would. Nonetheless I still enjoyed it! This book is written in first person in Maguire’s point of view. It is divided into parts from August to December. And there are 20 therapy sessions. As usual the writing style was well done!

I absolutely loved the relationships in this book! Maguire’s family was so supportive and sweet. I loved reading about the interactions between Maguire and her step-father. And hello a well done relationship with a step-parent is always good in my opinion! Her half siblings Erin and Jake (short for Jacob) were so cute! Her mother was so sweet trying to help Maguire get out of her comfort zone while always remaining there. Also her mother was unemployed and it was portrayed nicely! No one made a jab at her for being unemployed so that she could be there for her family. Like I said I absolutely adored the family aspect!

During her tennis tryout (apart of her tasks list) Maguire meets Jade. Who later becomes one of Maguire’s best friends. Jade is informed about Maguire and how she believes she is bad luck. After finding out Jade remains with Maguire throughout the whole book and never once does she assume that Maguire is crazy (like I did when I read the first sentence of the synopsis). There’s also Penn who is Jordy’s sister. Penn also remains supportive just like Jade and Maguire’s family. When Maguire meets Jordy they agree to help each other in achieving their goals. Jordy also visits Dr. Leed but for very different reasons. Dr. Leed is also supporting Maguire and helps her with comings up with some tasks for her list. I loved reading about the therapy sessions!

When Maguire and Dr. Leed made her task list Maguire assumed everything would go perfectly. Of course that didn’t happen but she did grew throughout the whole book. And most of the time the tasks were accomplished. Even if they were accomplished in very unexpected ways. Jordy also grew through the whole book. Maguire and Jordy where able to help each other achieve their goals. It’s revealed pretty early why Jordy is seeing Dr. Leed. I felt pretty bad for him but it was nice that he had Penn to support him as well.

I’m not exactly sure how to categorize the romance. Jordy falls for Maguire pretty quickly. And while the two have a lot of make-out sessions they don’t start dating towards the end of the book. Maguire spends most of her time with Jordy to try and push him away because she’s afraid that she’ll hurt him and he’s not exactly in the position to date her. Maguire wants to get her life sorted out first. Which was admirable but it was pretty obvious that Maguire had feelings for Jordy. The romance really confused me.

I had a few problems with Girl Against the Universe. During the October section I found that it started to drag. And it became boring to read about the daily activities. Now I know that this is a contemporary and you do read about daily activities, I just found this to be very boring. I didn’t like how most of the times Jade and Maguire would talk to each other it was about Jordy. I know that girls will talk to each other about their crushes and whatnot but Jordy was in most of their conversations.

As mentioned above the romance really confused me. Especially how Maguire would want to focus on herself but still kiss Jordy back and not admit that she had feelings for him. I feel somewhat indifferent to Jordy. Jordy actually confused me most of the times. This was definitely done on purpose because Jordy didn’t really know himself. While yes he was nice to Maguire with helping her and understanding, he still said stuff that I didn’t like. And overall he was confusing to read about. And lastly I felt that I didn’t know Maguire. Maguire is written quite vague which might come from the fact that she doesn’t get out. But I’m pretty sure that it was done on purpose. Nonetheless I still enjoyed this book!

Overall this was a good book! I recommend it to everyone because I feel that while I didn’t love it, it’s important to read this book.   

Review: The Way Back to You

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The Way Back to You by: Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

In this witty, heart-tugging novel, two teens take a spontaneous road trip across the Southwest to meet three strangers who received the life-saving organs of their late best friend—charting a journey of loss, hope, and love along the way.

Six months ago, Ashlyn Montiel died in a bike accident.

Her best friend Cloudy is keeping it together, at least on the outside. Cloudy’s insides are a different story: tangled, confused, heartbroken.

Kyle is falling apart, and everyone can tell. Ashlyn was his girlfriend, and when she died, a part of him went with her. Maybe the only part he cares about anymore.

As the two people who loved Ashlyn best, Cloudy and Kyle should be able to lean on each other. But after a terrible mistake last year, they’re barely speaking. So when Cloudy discovers that Ashlyn’s organs were donated after her death and the Montiel family has been in touch with three of the recipients, she does something a little bit crazy and a lot of out character: she steals the letters and convinces Kyle to go on a winter break road trip with her, from Oregon to California to Arizona to Nevada. Maybe if they see the recipients—the people whose lives were saved by Ashlyn’s death—the world will open up again. Or maybe it will be a huge mistake.

With hundreds of miles in front of them, a stowaway kitten, and a list of people who are alive because of Ashlyn, Cloudy and Kyle just may find their way to back to her…and to each other.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I had heard about this book through GR. I was hesitant about read it. But when I read the sample I was sold. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

The book begins with Ashlyn’s mother’s note to the organ recipients. We are then taken to the first chapter which is in Cloudy’s point of view. It’s been four months since Ashlyn died in a bike accident. It’s been pretty hard on Cloudy as she was Ashlyn’s best friend. Today her school is having a cheer thing going on. Her little sister Zoe has successfully forced her way into Cloudy’s life by becoming cheer captain. Before getting ready to perform Cloudy turns around to talk to Ashlyn. But then remembers that Ashlyn is dead. She escapes to get water.

She runs into Matty her ex-boyfriend and Kyle’s cousin. The two talk for a bit then Kyle comes. Cloudy says hello to him and he replies then he leaves. Cloudy asks Matty how Kyle has been. Matty replies that Kyle has been alright and that he’ll be making a speech for the baseball tryouts. Once the cheerleaders have done their thing the announcements begin. Much to Cloudy’s surprise Kyle ditches the assembly and Matty makes the announcement.

We are then taken to Kyle’s point of view. Today is Kyle and Ashlyn’s one year anniversary. Had Ashlyn been alive she would’ve found some way to celebrate. But she’s gone and Kyle’s on his own. From all the movies that Kyle has watched the characters go to Church and find some great sign. So far the Church he’s currently sitting in is the fourth Church. Thus far there haven’t been any signs of sorts.

While listening to some music Kyle hears a commotion. Much to his surprise he finds Matty with one of the cheerleaders. Realizing that no such sign has come he, Matty, and the cheerleader leave. Outside they find a kitten in Kyle’s car engine. Said kitten is known for curling up and sleeping in warm car engines. When Kyle gets a good look at the kitten he realizes that the kitten has the same eye color as Ashlyn. Kyle thinks that this the sign he is looking for and takes the kitten to his home.

Zoe and Cloudy’s parents are cruising to Mexico. They were in dire need of a vacation so they decided to take it. For dinner Zoe and Cloudy are going over to Ashlyn’s house where her parents will make them dinner. Cloudy is not looking forward to going. She doesn’t think that she’ll be able to bear it. The inevitable comes and they have dinner with Ashlyn’s family. Ashlyn’s mother mentions that she has been in contact with three of the organ recipients. She also mentions that one of them will be having a wedding but they won’t be able to go.

Cloudy feels likes she’s been suffocated. Ashlyn’s mother mentions that she left something in her husbands office. Cloudy offers to get it wanting more than anything to escape this conversation. She gets the paper Ashlyn’s mother wants. While picking up the paper her hand slips and the computer screen comes to life. The email with the wedding invitation is open. Cloudy decides to print all the emails hoping that they’ll give her some closure.

Back home Cloudy decides to go over to Kyle’s house and show him the emails. She’s hoping that by reading them he’ll be at peace and closer to closure. Zoe catches her and Cloudy explains that she printed the emails in hopes that Kyle would feel better. Zoe mentions that the recipients have probably met each other and that they don’t live far. Cloudy decides to visit them with Kyle.

I honestly did not expect to enjoy it this much! I was predicating a 3 star rating. The book is divided into parts based on where Cloudy and Kyle road trip to. The point of view switches between Cloudy and Kyle and is written in first person.

Kyle has no idea what to do about the fact that Ashlyn’s dead. He doesn’t believe in God so he has a hard time believing people when they that Ashlyn is in a better place. It’s pretty obvious that Kyle’s a mess. At some point he decides to quit baseball because he doesn’t see any point to it. His father and cousin are very supportive of him and do help whenever they can. Despite the support from his family there are times where he misses his mother who ditched him years ago. When he comes across the kitten whom he names Arm (after Ashlyn’s initials) his life starts to improve. Throughout the whole book he starts to open up to Cloudy about Ashlyn. He starts to become more open about everything and is happy in his own skin.

Cloudy is managing to hold up. Only because she bottles up all the pain. Mostly to obtain a perfect reputation so that she can show others that she’s moved on with her life. Anytime any mention of Ashlyn comes up she shuts other people out and switches the subject. When the road trip takes place Cloudy doesn’t tell Kyle the real reason she’s road tripping. She’s quite secretive and she does lie a lot. Unlike Kyle, Cloudy is very guarded and won’t really talk about herself. Throughout the book she grows quite a bit. At some point she decides to work on really moving on with her friends and family. She grows very attached to Arm. And her relationships with her sister Zoe and her friend Jade improve. She also has Matty in her life who is also very supportive.

The journey to see the organ recipients was well done! It was so interesting to read about the journey and the recipients. While they didn’t really do any sight seeing I enjoyed reading about the road trip!

The pain all the characters felt was realistic. The characters were fun to read about and they were realistic. The character development and their relationships was beautiful to read about! I actually liked all the characters. 

The romance is slow burn. Cloudy and Kyle do have a bit of history aside from Ashlyn. When they start taking their journey their is a lot of tension between the two of them. Which came from a misunderstanding. Throughout the book they become closer to each other. And do start developing feelings for each other. I liked how their feelings for each other doesn’t happen right away but rather towards the end of the book.

I had only one problem with The Way Back to You. Towards the middle when Cloudy and Kyle took a break I felt that it started to drag a bit. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t take a break but I did start to become bored. Luckily the book starts to pick up again. 

Overall this was a really good book! I recommend it to contemporary fans.  

Review: There Once Were Stars

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There Once Were Stars by: Melanie McFarlene

My Rating: 1 of 5 Stars

Peace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of the dome. Now Nat wants answers. Is there life outside the dome and if so, what has the Order been hiding from everyone?

Beware spoilers ahead!

I had heard about this book through Twitter. There was a blog tour going on at the time. It sounded interesting so I added it to my shelf. I came across some reviews that mentioned cluttered writing style. Rather than buy this I downloaded a sample. I didn’t enjoy it. 

The book begins with Natalia’s 18th birthday. Her parents died when they exited the dome due to the radiation. Since then Nat has been living with her grandparents. Now that she is officially an adult she has to start working.

Behind everyone’s back she sneaks out and spies on the outer edge of the dome. She wants a better understanding of what happened to her parents. She falls asleep and wakes up to seeing strangers roaming outside of the dome. This shouldn’t be possible because of all the radiation.

This was a case of ‘It’s not you but me’. When I started reading this it felt off. Yes the writing style was a bit of a mess here-and-there. But for some reason it felt really weird to read the sample. I wasn’t interested in knowing about Nat’s life so I ended up skimming a lot of it. I also found it somewhat boring. I never felt any anticipation when she fell asleep and woke up to strangers. I felt nothing the whole I read and skimmed it. I could not bring myself to read more. 

Overall this book was not for me. But I still recommend it. I think it would actually be a good Sci-Fi. 

Review: Revenge of the Girl with Great Personality

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Revenge of the Girl with Great Personality by: Elizabeth Eulberg

My Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

A hilarious new novel from Elizabeth Eulberg about taking the wall out of the wallflower so she can bloom.

Don’t mess with a girl with a great personality!

Everybody loves Lexi. She’s popular, smart, funny…but she’s never been one of those girls, the pretty ones who get all the attention from guys. And on top of that, her seven-year-old sister, Mackenzie, is a terror in a tiara, and part of a pageant scene where she gets praised for her beauty (with the help of fake hair and tons of makeup).

Lexi’s sick of it. She’s sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She’s sick of being ignored by her longtime crush, Logan. She’s sick of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom. And she’s sick of having all her family’s money wasted on a phony pursuit of perfection.

The time has come for Lexi to step out from the sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren’t going to know what hit them. Because Lexi’s going to play the beauty game – and she’s in it to win it.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I had heard about this book through GR. It sounded really good, light and just what I needed. I was very happy that this was in my library. Unfortunately I did not enjoy this. 

The book begins with Lexi at her little sisters beauty pageant. As always Lexi is cheering Mac on. Lexi hates pageants. Her mother ends up spending a lot of money just for her sister to wear this cheap plastic tiara.

When Lexi was younger her parents would always argue. She didn’t understand what they were talking about but she knew it must have been bad because they would always shout. Then Lexi’s mom was pregnant with Mac. And her parents started getting along. Unfortunately Mac wasn’t enough to save their parents marriage. Her father left them nonetheless.

Her mother was trying to look for ways to mend the whole in her heart. When they were shopping they came across an add for a beauty pageant. Lexi refused to participate but her mother was able to Mac to. Ever since then Mac has been in all these competitions. They can’t actually afford any of it but they manage to get by because Lexi is working.

The reason I couldn’t finish this is because of Lexi’s mother. I couldn’t stand her! All she cared about were these pageant’s which they couldn’t afford. She didn’t even care that her daughter was having fun participating in these pageant’s. No she only cared about winning so that she could say her daughter won. She treated Lexi terribly. She was horrible and ridiculous. While I know that this is realistic because some mothers are like that isn’t a reason for me to continue.

However I did like some things. There are a lot of good lessons to be taken from this book. And in the end Lexi chooses herself over a guy and her relationship with her sister improves. Unfortunately this wasn’t enough for me to put with their mother. 

Overall I didn’t like the mother. But I still recommend this to everyone because of the lessons learnt.  

Review: The Flip Side

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The Flip Side by: Shawn Johnson

My Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

From gold medalist and reality TV star Shawn Johnson comes a debut YA novel inspired by her own experiences as an elite teenage gymnast—just in time for the Summer 2016 Olympic games.

Charlie Ryland has a secret.

She may seem like your average high school sophomore—but she’s just really good at pretending.

Because outside of school Charlie spends all her waking hours training to become one of the best gymnasts in the world. And it’s not easy flying under the radar when you’re aiming for Olympic gold…especially when an irresistible guy comes along and threatens to throw your whole world off balance.

Inspired by her own experiences as a fifteen-year-old Olympic gymnast, gold medalist Shawn Johnson writes a delightfully entertaining novel about chasing big dreams and falling in love, all while trying to keep it real.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC via Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

DNF

This book was recommended to me by my dear GR friend Lola! Click on her name to read her review. 

I had heard about this book through Lola’s review. It sounded pretty good and I was in the mood for something light to read. I requested it on Netgalley and much to my delight (and surprise) I got it! Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this. 

The book begins with Charlie day dreaming about a competition. Reality comes back when her teacher makes a comment on her lack of knowledge on the government. Much to her dismay the lesson she day dreamed in will be coming in the test.

Her best friend suggests they study together. But that weekend Charlie will be having a competition. She tells said friend that she’ll be visiting her grandmothers and won’t be able to meet her and study.

When Charlie first got into gymnastics it was easier. Her schedule was more flexible and she didn’t have to worry about a thing. As she got older and enrolled into a different gymnastics course she started getting homeschooled. Charlie wanted a normal life. She wanted to go to high school and make friends. So her parents talked to the school and it was arranged. Charlie keeps her other life a secret so that they don’t clash. She finds it overwhelming to balance the two. Which is why she lies to her best friend about her plans.

The only problem I had was the writing style. It wasn’t so bad in the beginning but then it started to bother me. I actually wanted to reword some of the sentences. The plot in itself sounded interesting hence the two star. 

Overall I did not like the writing style. But I still recommend it because it does sound interesting. 

Review: The Lies About Truth

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The Lies About Truth by: Courtney C. Stevens

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Sadie Kingston, is a girl living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max.

As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she’s unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him — even if Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. But when the truth about the accident and subsequent events comes to light, Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future or if she’ll always be trapped in the past.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I had heard about this book through Twitter. There was a giveaway going on and I entered. Now I didn’t win the giveaway but this book was always in the back of my mind. After reading several reviews I decided to buy it. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

The book begins with Sadie walking to the beach. Going to the beach in shorts is apart of Sadie’s list of goals that she made with her therapist Fletcher. So far she’s managed to do it until she sees whose on the beach. Gina who is her former best friend calls her over. Seeing no other choice Sadie follows suite and the two talk. Their conversation goes as it normally does. Gina tries to get Sadie to keep in touch, she apologizes profusely, and assures her that Gray (Sadie’s ex boyfriend) and her aren’t dating.

Gray joins the conversation and it just goes south from there. He can’t look Sadie in the eye. She has a few scars from the accident and he simply cannot bear to look at her because it reminds him of their best friend dying. Sadie takes that as her cue to leave. Once her old friends are out of sight she writes in the sand her goal list. Then she jogs back home.

At home her mother gives her a letter that came for her in the mail. Noticing Sadie’s expression she asks what happened. Sadie tells her that she ran into Gray and Gina and that it didn’t really go well. Her mother then mentions that she was talking with Sadie’s dad and they have decided to put Sadie back in school in the fall. She further explains that they found homeschooling necessary because of the therapy sessions and surgery. But now Sadie is better and should go back to school. Sadie argues but her mother points out that Sadie isn’t happy at home and that she can’t spend the rest of her life avoiding people.

Sadie says that she’ll think about it and her mother leaves. She decides to open the letter. It has no return address just her name typed up. Once she has it open she is shocked at what she reads. It was something she wrote years ago. Sadie has this blue ostrich toy. Trent had won it for her and they named it Big. Her mother then pointed out to her that there was a hole in the bottom of the toy. Trent then suggested that Sadie put papers in Big. Much to Sadie’s surprise the words on the letter are one of the papers she put in Big years ago.

Sadie thinks that her parents are behind this and confronts them. It becomes obvious that her parents aren’t behind it. Her father brings up going to school again and Sadie storms off to her bedroom. She immediately checks Big for the paper and finds it. Sadie doesn’t have any idea who is doing this and how the person even got the paper, but she intends to find out.

I honestly did not expect to enjoy this book! When I started reading it I thought that I rate it 3 stars. But as I continued to read on I found myself enjoying it immensely! The book is written in first person all in Sadie’s point of view. There are letters, emails and flashbacks that come in this book.

A year prior to The Lies About Truth Sadie, Max, Gina, Trent, and Gray were in a car crash. Trent was killed. Sadie who had forgotten to put her seat belt on went flying out of the window. Sadie has some scars on her and she went through several surgeries to look somewhat the same. Max’s vocal chords are not what they used to be. He has a hard time speaking and it usually comes out as horse. While Gina and Gray didn’t have physical injuries they were scarred as well.

Max’s family moved to El Salvador for a year (his family comes back in the beginning of the book). Sadie stopped keeping with Gina and Gray. After she saw Gray (her boyfriend at the time) kiss Gina. Sadie kept up with Max through emails. Sadie pretty much stopped getting out of her house. She’s very conscious about her scars and she now has social anxiety. So she can’t be in a crowd. Sadie’s parent decide to put Sadie through a Social Experiment. To get her ready for school. At first Sadie does not want to participate but it becomes very obvious that she has no choice and decides to go along with it.

I liked how the author showed the readers the aftermath of the car crash. It’s true that there isn’t only injuries especially if you lose a loved one. The grief was messy and dealt with very well. I understood Sadie’s need to forgive Gina and Gray but at the same time she couldn’t bring herself to do it. It was realistic. The relationship between all four of them was also dealt with well. There were a lot of Before and After’s which was to be expected.

I liked reading about Max and Sadie. They had a nice relationship and it was sweet to see it unfold with the emails. I also liked reading about Sadie and her parents. They were an amazing support system! I also liked reading about her therapist Fletcher and the goals she set for herself. A lot of the people Sadie met were nice and supportive. This is probably one of the most realistic contemporaries I have ever read.

I liked how there was a strong focus on forgiveness and finding the strength to move on. The flashbacks were also sweet. You saw what all the characters were like before the accident including Trent. The mystery aspect wasn’t that great. But it didn’t bother me and I understood why the person did not. What is nice about this book is that I got to relax and turn off my brain and just enjoyed the ride. I also liked how everything came to a full circle at the end. 

I did have one problem with The Lies About Truth. I couldn’t relate to the characters. I felt that they were defined by their lies, regrets, and mistakes. Sadie was defined by the relationships she had with the people around her. I didn’t know any one of the characters. I honestly thought that because of this I wouldn’t rate it higher than 3 stars. But much to my surprise the plot sneaked up on me. I’m not sure when this happened but it did.

Note this is a really slow contemporary. This didn’t bother me but it might bother some readers. It takes a very long time for anything to really happen. Including the mystery with the letters. It also deals with a lot of grief so if you don’t like that I would skip this book.

Overall this was a fun ride. I recommend it to fans of contemporary and people who like reading books dealing with grief.