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In the tradition of Sarah Dessen, this powerful debut novel is a compelling portrait of a young girl coping with her mother’s cancer as she figures out how to learn from—and fix—her past.
Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.
Now, after two semesters of silence, Declan is home from boarding school for the summer. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger…more handsome. Harper has changed, too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.
While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, and the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on. But he’s also the one person she’s lost the right to seek comfort from.
As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.
In this honest and affecting tale of friendship and first love, Emily Martin brings to vivid life the trials and struggles of high school and the ability to learn from past mistakes over the course of one steamy North Carolina summer.
“I know what you’re probably thinking after tonight. But it’s not…I mean, people say things that aren’t…”
The rest dissolves on my tongue. Declan’s fingers graze my collarbone and grasp the chain of my necklace. He pulls it out from underneath my shirt and slides it down to the infinity pendant at the bottom before letting it go.
“I know who you are.”
Yeah yeah I know……I read this book a week or more ago. Well, I just now feel like reviewing it and I don’t feel like skipping it because I have some truly amazing gifs that fit this book and review perfectly. I don’t plan on saying much and I don’t want to ramble on; However, I have to say something….otherwise I would feel rather incomplete. And I HATE feeling incomplete. I’ve had to pass up way too many reviews due to time restraints and overlaps when reading too many books…and I don’t plan on continuing that trend more than I have to.
I drive home in silence. When I turn onto my street, I pull over and crank the radio up loud. I reach for the spare towel I keep in the backseat, roll it into a ball, and cover my mouth.
Scream until my voice goes hoarse.
This book. Hm. Well, I did really enjoy it-Honestly. But there was just so much that could have been done and handled differently that would have made this a definite five star-EASILY. As it was, too much grated and got under my skin for it to be more positive than negative. But then you flip the coin, and there was just
so much good that had my heart soaring, my feels going haywire, and my smile exploding. And that is exactly why I’m not rating this book-Good or bad.
First ten years of friendship. The kind of friendship that means knowing everything there is to know about each other. Where every one of our scars is, and how we got them. The pitch of his laugh when he’s had a lot of sugar, or exactly what kind of coffee I need after a bad day. Friends who could spend twelve straight hours doing absolutely nothing and still want it to last twelve more. Who listen, even when the other is wrong; even when they’re not making sense. Friends who could be mad at the whole universe, but never got angry with each other for long. Who love each other unconditionally.
Even now, after having a week to think about what suits this book rating wise, I still can’t pin point my exact thoughts down to a rating and find any inflection one way or another. I guess that just goes to prove my point: I can reach into the recesses of my mind all I want, but it’s an equal amount of both positive and unhappy thoughts that resurface. And when I begin to rate it a 5, a 4, a 3, a 3.5, literally nothing feels right.
Then, six months of everything. A spring of skipped heartbeats every time he called me his girlfriend, then a summer of learning what being part of someone really meant. Six months of discovering the sound his heart makes with my head against his chest, and the taste of his tongue after he eats something salty. Or how his breath catches when I kiss his throat, and the way it tickles when he traces my collarbone. Two seasons of feeling more connected to a person than I ever thought possible.
And, in a weird way, that makes me extremely sad. I picked up this book and expected something spectacular. I wanted extreme gushing and unforgettable moments. I longed for passionate moments and flares of extreme emotion-either in hate or love, it didn’t matter. But what I got was a constant string of ups that were quickly followed by downs (mostly by our main character who had issues understanding the consequences of her actions).
Two polls pull me in opposite directions. There’s this girl I’ve been lately, the things I’ve done. And there’s the person I want to be. The girl Declan used to love. And right now I’m neither. I’m stuck, floating between the broken ends.
Harper was….a realistic girl. I’ll say that there were many, many moments where I could agree that I totally understood where she was coming from and might have even mimicked these actions at one point in my life (not the stupid make outs with a loser-REPEATEDLY-or the need to drink to drown my emotions). I, too, had-and still have-bouts where miscommunication was the only form of communication. It reeked havoc on my relationship with my parents and even with my now husband. So many simple little words, sentences, and even texts could have saved me a lot of heartache and prevented a lot of fights. Hey, I’m still trying to get the hang of it, honestly. But the absolute disregard for the obvious and the easy was just too much for me after a certain point (on Harper’s part)-and that point was about 50%.
“I know enough.” He wipes his hand across his mouth. “So what, you’re going to drive him home and then….”
I don’t know what he wants to hear, or whether I’m actually supposed to fill in the blank. I’m not even sure what he’s mad about anymore. But before I can get an answer out, Declan scowls again.
“Whatever. Do what you want. I just don’t like the way he looks at you.”
“Oh, okay, and how’s that?”
His eyes sink down to my necklace and he steps off the sidewalk. “Like you’re replaceable.”
And then Declan. Ah God, he wasn’t without his flaws, that’s for sure. He, too, had moments where the cluelessness could have been taken down a notch. Though..his was purposeful and with reason…So does that make it right or better? A little, if I’m being honest. For one, he didn’t do the whole running off to another girl shit. He loved Harper, it was clear, and never swayed from that. Even when he first got back, you could tell that he had never lost any love or feelings for her, despite whatever had went down. For two, he tried, repeatedly, to make things right. For three…who gives a fuck?? He was clearly more mature, clear-headed, and sure of what he wanted and chose to take higher roads, even after she INCESSANTLY added DANGEROUS speed bumps. Like, fuck sakes, MUST you run off to your asshole friend and smoke and drink every little time something goes wrong? He’s WATCHING OUT FOR YOU BECAUSE OF YOUR HEALTH, YOU LITTLE TWATWAFFLE! Oh yeah, and he’ll love you FOREVER. GAHD!
I nodded, but didn’t say anything until he gently tucked a curl behind my ear. “What am I to you?”
He recoiled from my question. “What are you? Harper, you’re everything.”
So..clearly the anger is still there. And clearly, even as I often sympathized with Harper, she also grated on my every nerve at a certain point. Neither were perfect, but I think it’s more than obvious Declan is the reason this book is so difficult to rate. His loyalty, his friendship, his kindness. Not to mention their mutual friends, both old and new, who were always there for them. Cory (O), Gwen (N), Mackenzie (N).
Declan takes a long breath, avoiding eye contact with me until he pulls himself together. We’re still sprawled out on the ground, and he props himself up on one elbow. He gestures to me.
“That’s the smile.”
I start giggling again. “What?”
His expression softens. He scratches above his eyebrow and shakes his head, suddenly looking almost bashful. “I’ve been waiting all summer to see that smile.”
A story of love lost and found again, given a second chance through mutual forgiveness, mistakes, hopes, and unrelenting belief in the love that was shared and of what could be. More than once I couldn’t breathe and had uncontrollable giggles that couldn’t be stifled. The butterflies from old flash backs, crushed feelings Declan’s face revealed, and new moments filled with curiosity and fumbling emotions that cease to let old feelings die weren’t in short supply. I can’t say I will rec this to anyone, nor can I put my Chelsea stamp of approval-Not enough impressed me to ask friends to give it a try. However, neither will I dismiss it and forget all about it-There was too much that I liked and multiple quotes I’ll never forget. I’m sorry to say that, even though I wrote a review, I am no help-Everyone is on their own. Sorry.
We can’t go back. The only way to change our past is by adding to it.
Final thoughts I forgot to put in (but still want to mention) but am too lazy to go add in somewhere:
-The problem that caused it all wasn’t what I wanted or expected it to be. It wasn’t bad…it was just kind of anti-climactic.
-The loose ends-there were quite a few… but isn’t that like life??
-The way some things were addressed but then never touched again
–Writing was AMAZING
I have too many mixed emotions and a convoluted mess of thoughts. Extreme feels, lots of heartache.
Review MAYBE Monday
. Hopefully I’ll be able to decipher my emotions by then. ♥
Supporting friends and cast-5 stars
Her loser friends/Sadie-2 stars
Harper’s decision making skills-1 star
See?? No fucking clue…because…Declan. SO many passionate scenes with him and his deep-rooted love that are hard to forget that make my heart and mind do crazy things. Yikes. In troublleeeee.