(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Harper Collins on February 17th 2015
Genres: Death & Dying, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Marriage & Divorce, Social Issues, Young Adult
From the acclaimed author of Maybe One Day, Melissa Kantor, comes a poignant coming-of-age story that skillfully captures the singular experience of being a teenage girl. This beautifully woven tale will appeal to fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen.Juliet Newman has it all. A picture-perfect family; a handsome, loving boyfriend; and a foolproof life plan: ace her SATs, get accepted into Harvard early decision, and live happily ever after.But when her dad moves out and her mom loses it, Juliet begins questioning the rules she's always lived by. And to make everything even more complicated there's Declan, the gorgeous boy who makes her feel alive and spontaneous—and who's totally off-limits. Torn between the life she always thought she wanted and one she never knew was possible, Juliet begins to wonder: What if perfect isn't all it's cracked up to be?
Or so it seems
Juliet’s perfect plans start to crumble when her father moves out of their house and her mom seems to fall into a pit of despair. Everything she thought was important suddenly changes and maybe acing those SAT’s and going to Harvard were never really her goals.
And then she meets Declan on one of the worst nights of her life and she’s no longer sure what she wants.
This is my second Melissa Kantor book. I absolutely loved Maybe One Day… even though it made me sob like a baby. So I knew I was going to snatch up her next book as soon as I could, but I hate to say that this one fell flat for me for a couple of reasons.
Spoilers ahead so be warned – turn away!
I hate cheating… I hate cheating stories and books and characters. I have my reasons. So I will admit that I don’t normally read them, and in the summary of this one, there is no hint that there will be cheating.
There is cheating.
So admittedly this colored my opinion immediately. Don’t get me wrong, I could probably tolerate this if, say, the character had to ultimately deal with the consequences of the actions taken. And that right there is my biggest issue with this story.
Juliet never once acknowledges what she did to her boyfriend… OF FOUR YEARS. She never owns up to her infidelity and she never apologizes for breaking his trust in her. They part ways at the end because he feels like he doesn’t know who she is anymore and they have different priorities and goals, but NEVER ONCE does she tell him what she did.
And that made me angry.
Again, I have my personal feelings on this, and that admittedly curtailed my enjoyment of the story. I just feel like there were no repercussions for her actions and it left a bad taste in my mouth… I spent the rest of the story waiting for her to come clean but it never happened. (hide spoiler)]
Another reason I didn’t love this one were the characters. I never found myself connecting with anyone. I really liked her boyfriend … what we got to know of him, and that I think was my problem. Everyone felt very superficially a part of her life. Even Declan who we’re supposed to believe she has this unbelievable connection with for some reason is never explored fully and in actuality they had very little involvement in the actual story.
What I will say is that Juliet’s character was definitely explored and developed wonderfully. I understood her struggles… the pressure she puts on herself to succeed and be this person that everyone wanted and expected her to be… never getting to fully explore the things that are out there that maybe might interest her more than what she’s currently doing. The extreme focus to be the best at everything and the stress that can cause and then add to that the feeling that your family is falling apart and you have no one to lean on. I get it. I got her … I just maybe didn’t agree with her choices or the fact that she never really owned up to something big.
That said, the story was interesting, the writing was amazing and it’s definitely worth a read if you’re a fan of Melissa Kantor.
Thank you to HarperTeen for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest thoughts!