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BLOG TOUR + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Every Other Weekend by Abigail Johnson

BLOG TOUR + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Every Other Weekend by Abigail Johnson

BLOG TOUR + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Every Other Weekend by Abigail JohnsonEvery Other Weekend by Abigail Johnson
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

What if your safe place…is a person?

Adam Moynihan’s life used to be awesome. Straight As, close friends and a home life so perfect that it could have been a TV show straight out of the 50s. Then his oldest brother died. Now his fun-loving mom cries constantly, he and his remaining brother can’t talk without fighting, and the father he always admired proved himself a coward by moving out when they needed him most.

Jolene Timber’s life is nothing like the movies she loves—not the happy ones anyway. As an aspiring director, she should know, because she’s been reimagining her life as a film ever since she was a kid. With her divorced parents at each other’s throats and using her as a pawn, no amount of mental reediting will give her the love she’s starving for.

Forced to spend every other weekend in the same apartment building, the boy who thinks forgiveness makes him weak and the girl who thinks love is for fools begin an unlikely friendship. The weekends he dreaded and she endured soon become the best part of their lives. But when one’s life begins to mend while the other’s spirals out of control, they realize that falling in love while surrounded by its demise means nothing is ever guaranteed.

Review:

Every Other Weekend, my second Abigail Johnson novel I’ve read, was almost unputdownable for me. Not because it was a thrilling page turner, but because I was so invested in these characters I needed to find out what was going to happen next. I even had to put it down a few times so I wouldn’t cry on an airplane – and if you know me, unless it involves animals, I’m probably not going to cry. So there, you win A.J. Stupid dry airplane air.

EOW follows two perspectives: Adam Moynihan and Jolene Timber. Adam’s life has recently been turned upside down: His parents are recently separated, in no small part due to the death of their eldest son. Adam was super close to his oldest brother and he was the calming force between Adam and Jeremey, Adam’s other brother. Adam is struggling to adapt to his new life and blames his father for the marriage falling apart. But as part of this new life, he and Jeremy are forced to come to his father’s apartment every other weekend.

It’s here he meets Jolene, who has been coming to her dad’s apartment every other weekend for years. However, she never actually sees her dad while she’s there. He’s always giving excuses and making his girlfriend, Shelly, parent Jolene in his absence. As horrible of a relationship as she has with Shelly and her father, Jolene’s relationship with her mother is extremely poor too. Her mother wants Jolene to spy on her father, because she believes his hiding money from her. She is physically and emotionally abusive to Jolene and has a substance abuse issue as well.

So both Jolene and Adam are in pretty low places when they meet, but that doesn’t stop them from instantly connecting. Adam is drawn to Jolene’s enigmatic and confident demeanor. She’s an aspiring filmmaker and quickly ropes Adam in to help her with her movies. Soon, they actually look forward to their awkward weekends at the apartment, where they ignore their families and find comfort in not feeling alone.

As with Even If I Fall, I adored almost all of the characters in this book and really appreciated how real and grounded the various storylines were. There were obviously themes of families (both good and bad), the trauma of loss and change, friendships, breakups and makeups, sibling rivalry and complicated relationships with parents. There is also the trauma of a sexual assault and dealing in the aftermath. It’s a lot of heavy things, but there’s still a lot of joy and light to be found. I loved Adam and Jolene’s complicated relationship, as well as Adam’s love of his family. Even when he is furious at his father, deep down it’s clear it’s coming from a place of love and loss. Jolene was an amazing character in her own right, and I loved how much she believe in herself, even when no around really believe in her or her talent. And as I mentioned before, there were definitely times when I got a little misty-eyed, as there’s a lot of mention of loss in here that just really hit me for some reason.

Overall, I really loved this book. It might be a tiny bit behind Even If I Fall, but certainly not by much. Johnson continues to write complicated, but down to earth, stories about teenagers dealing with a multitude of issues. Her stories have so many layers, but it never feels like it’s too much. It all blends seamlessly and her characters are so enjoyable and easy to love.

Every Other Weekend is available January 7, 2020.

Content Warnings: Sexual assault, death of a family member, verbal and physical abuse, substance abuse, talk of death/dying, controlling/abusive relationship

 

Favorite Quotes:

“Look, are you going to be around a lot?”
“Every other weekend.”
He hung his head. “Me too.”
I didn’t bother with a fake smile. “Yippee.”

*

If I wasn’t half in love with her before I read it, I was after. Except there was no half anything with Jolene.

*

It was a love story. Not romantic exactly, but the kind of love that maybe lasts beyond passion and heartache. It was a story of friendship, with all its possible laid out in front of it. That’s what Adam and I had.

*

My inside warned me that if I let him any closer I wouldn’t survive, but I knew with a burst of heat that chased away every last bit of cold from my body that I’d never truly live if I tried to keep him away.

*

“And I know you’re gonna break my heart at some point, I might even break yours.” I pressed her hand more firmly against my chest. “But it’s yours to break and mend and hopefully not break again, because, like you’ve said many times, I have fragile boy emotions.”

Giveaway:

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About Abigail Johnson:

Abigail was born in Pennsylvania. When she was twelve, her family traded in snow storms for year round summers, and moved to Arizona. Abigail chronicled the entire cross-country road trip (in a purple spiral bound notebook that she still has) and has been writing ever since. She became a tetraplegic after breaking her neck in a car accident when she was seventeen, but hasn’t let that stop her from bodysurfing in Mexico, writing and directing a high school production of Cinderella, and becoming a published author.

Keep up with Abigail: Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube| Facebook

BOOK REVIEW: Even If I Fall by Abigail Johnson

BOOK REVIEW: Even If I Fall by Abigail JohnsonEven If I Fall by Abigail Johnson
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads






Synopsis:

A year ago, Brooke Covington lost everything when her beloved older brother, Jason, confessed to the murder of his best friend, Calvin. Brooke and her family became social pariahs, broken and unable to console one another. Brooke’s only solace remains the ice-skating rink, where she works but no longer lets herself dream about a future skating professionally.

When Brooke encounters Calvin’s younger brother, Heath, on the side of the road and offers him a ride, everything changes. She needs someone to talk to…and so does Heath. No one else understands what it’s like. Her brother, alive but gone; his brother, dead but everywhere. Soon, they’re meeting in secret, despite knowing that both families would be horrified if they found out. In the place of his anger and her guilt, something frighteningly tender begins to develop, drawing them ever closer together.

But when a new secret comes out about the murder, Brooke has to choose whose pain she’s willing to live with—her family’s or Heath’s. Because she can’t heal one without hurting the other.

Thank you to NetGalley, Abigail Johnson and Harlequin Teen for my free ARC in exchange for an honest review.


“I’m not allowed to feel bad in front of you. I’m not allowed to feel bad in front of anyone, but especially not you, and I don’t know how to stop.”

“Even If I Fall” by Abigail Johnson is a hauntingly beautiful YA novel about love, family and forgiveness. As I described it to a friend, it reminded me of a more tragic, YA version of Mariana Zapata’s “From Lukov with Love.”

As the synopsis says, the story follows Brooke, who (along with her family) become social pariahs following her brother Jason’s murder of his best friend, Calvin. Brooke’s family is shattered, and each member struggles to deal with the loss of someone who is still alive, but admitted to committing an unspeakable crime. Also dealing with the loss of a brother, enter Heath, Cal’s younger brother.

“I resist another urge to press my back against my door. Not because I’m physically afraid of Heath, but because I’m afraid of what he might say and how his words could shred me if he wants them to.”

One day, Brooke offers Heath a ride into town. And that’s how the story of Brooke and Heath begins. Both are struggling with the loss of a brother, though Brooke knows Heath’s pain comes from the decision of her own brother. There are so many layers of loss, sadness and struggle. There’s also a good deal of anger and resentment. It’s a lot for our main characters to deal with, but I thought it was all very realistic and thoughtful.

After several other encounters, Brooke eventually asks Heath with his help training for an ice skating tour, as Brooke is an excellent skater. Heath ultimately agrees and they being spending more time together, but not before agreeing to keep it a secret from their respective families.

We keep trying to not hurt each other. But I did and he did. We are.

While it was fairly obvious what some of the main plot points were going to be, it didn’t make the story any less enjoyable. I adored both Brooke and Heath and their slow-burn relationship. It was so well done and the build up was great. I also enjoyed the cast of characters around Brooke. They were all well-defined and added so much to the story. I would love to see a novella or long-form epilogue some day, as I’d love to see what everyone is up to after some time has past from the book’s ending.

As steady as his arms are, my heart is beating wildly. And he just keeps holding me in the air like that, like I weigh nothing and he can go on holding me forever.

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