Author: Abigail Johnson

BOOK REVIEW: Every Time You Go Away by Abigail Johnson

BOOK REVIEW: Every Time You Go Away by Abigail JohnsonEvery Time You Go Away by Abigail Johnson
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Eight years ago, Ethan and Rebecca met, two troublemaking kids sharing secrets and first kisses in a tree house, until Ethan’s mom returned to take him away. Each and every visit, his only goodbye was a flower on Rebecca’s windowsill.

Four years ago, Ethan left for the last time to take care of his mother, who has struggled with addiction his whole life.

Two years ago, Rebecca was in a car accident that killed her father. She’s been learning to navigate life as a wheelchair user ever since.

Now, they discover if their hardships have torn them apart…or will bring them closer than ever.


Every Time You Go Away was emotionally powerful and a story I won’t ever forget. It was laced with joy and heartache. And was not only about finding yourself, but of forgiveness, forging your own path, and repairing the pieces inside you and the relationships around you too. It is a must read for those that love young adult.

“You used to come every few months. Why didn’t you come back?” And then, in a smaller voice that bleeds with hurt, “Ethan, I waited for you.”

That first chapter was set in the past, and it pulled me right in.  The relationship Rebecca had with her parents as a little kid was complicated and also delicate. That summer while she was bored in her room, and her mom was working, she watched as a boy got dropped off at his grandparents’ house next door. His name was Ethan and his mom was leaving him. The first time of what would be many. Rebecca witnessed Ethan’s whole world explode. And this set the tone for the book. Each moment felt so real, like I was watching a movie. From there we got to alternate between Ethan and Rebecca in the present. With a few chapters in the past, scattered here and there. And our time with Ethan and Rebecca stole the breath from my lungs.

As suddenly as he’d shown up in my life, he’d be gone just as quickly.
And he never said goodbye.

When we jumped into the present, it had been years since Rebecca and Ethan had seen each other. And while they were hesitant at first, the core of their relationship was still there and strong. They had this unbreakable bond that was beautiful. Yet so much had changed. Ethan had grown, and seemed even more jaded. Rebecca was more withdrawn, yet she radiated this beautiful resilience and now used a wheelchair to get around. Both of their lives were so different since the last time they had seen each other years ago. So while they rekindled their friendship so easily, there were still moments were it felt like they were oceans apart from each other. And it left my heart aching.

It’s gonna hurt when I leave her. It’s already there, that feeling like I can’t take a deep enough breath, but what else can I do?

Ethan gutted me. His mother suffered from substance abuse, and he felt as though he had to fight her battles. To protect her from abusive boyfriends and keep her from overdosing. But over the years, his mom would send him to his grandparents. So she could temporarily fix herself. And yet again he found himself at his grandparents’ house. I loved how careful they were around him. How much they wanted to help, even though Ethan wanted no part of it. Ethan was strong willed, determined, and had such a huge heart. I hoped they would help him when his world exploded again. But then there was also Rebecca. And she too was someone who was always there for him too.

I lift a hand from the pool and watch water drip back down into tiny, dissipating ripples on the surface, then let my hand drop with a much more satisfying splash. “I never used to feel like I was just watching my life go by, but that’s all I do now. I barely make ripples, let alone a splash.”

Rebecca’s relationship with her mom hurt. Her mom could be so cold and distant, and she always seemed to keep Rebecca at arm’s length since the accident. Well, if she was even around. The accident had killed Rebecca’s father and she was now in a wheelchair learning to navigate her new world. So it pained me to hear Rebecca’s thoughts about her mom. How she just wanted to have her mom show she cared about her. It cut so deep. And while Ethan was Rebecca’s best friend, she also struggled with him too. He was who she confided in, had fun with, and could simply just be. Yet he proved time and again that he could be gone in the blink of an eye. When his mom came back, he left. So opening to him, since her life had changed so much, was hard. How can you let your whole soul be shown to someone who could just disappear from your life that next day?

He inhales deeply and holds my gaze like a lifeline. “I know better than most people that the real scars, the deep ones, are always on the inside.”
His words pierce through me like an arrow, right where I never want anyone to see. I feel my eyes threaten to well up but blinking fast will only betray that fact, so I try and brush his words -his stare – off.

Rebecca and Ethan both had so much on their shoulders. And they both scarified pieces of themselves, because of others. It was important for them to please others, to make their lives easier. Yet it was at the expense of themselves, and what they wanted. So I loved watching them both grow from that first page to the last. That they both needed to figure out how to fight for what they wanted in life. Because I knew that whenever that happened, I would be so proud of them! I also loved the lighter moments too. That those were filled with laughter and smiles. We got to watch how deeply they cared for one another. And while their transition from friends to more was extremely slow burn, the sexual tension between them was done so well. You could feel it all the way through this story.

“You always acted like you were glad when she came back,” she says softly.
“Yeah, I was. ‘Cause she always came back clean. But I never wanted to go with her. I wanted her to stay with me.” I look away. It feels cowardly but I can’t stare at her face when I add, “So I could stay with you.”

This story ended with beautiful conversations, growth, hope, and finding your happiness. I loved seeing paths open for both of them. Yet, Rebecca and Ethan’s story was extremely emotional and made me cry multiple times. And there were two different twists that I didn’t see coming, they knocked me to the ground. So if you’re looking for a young adult story that is character driven and focuses on personal growth and friendship, then this is your book! While there was romance, it just took a little longer to get there then I’m used to. But it made my heart happy. I closed this book smiling and I can’t wait to discover more books by Abigail Johnson! She is an extremely powerful writer that will invoke all of your emotions.  It was impossible to put down this book!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

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
Add to: Goodreads


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.


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.”


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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
Add to: Goodreads


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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