*ARC provided by Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review*
This was my second novel by Julia and I am sad to say that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the first one. A lot had to do with the fact that it excluded a lot of vital (at least vital to me) details that would’ve enabled me to delve deeper into the characters and connect with them. The writing tended to skip around a lot.
I didn’t really have a strong reaction where Brooke was concerned. I didn’t like her, but I didn’t hate her either; It was sort of a weird experience. But I will say that I really liked reading the thought process she had when it came to her step sister, Natalie. I enjoyed following along as Brooke took care of her. Her step sister (who has Asperger’s) ends up moving in with her for the rest of her summer vacation and we get to witness as that alone turns her world upside down. I will say though that I felt for Brooke when I witnessed how she was putting Natalie’s happiness before her own. It was sweet and thoughtful and very, very unhealthy… But I admired her for it nonetheless.
I feel like Natalie was more interesting to follow. She was blunt (which I enjoyed) and seemed to steal the show in every way possible when she appeared. I kind of wished we got to see her point of view in this novel since it made me super curious to witness her thought process when it came to certain things that she had to deal with. It must not be east to juggle two different family dynamics, let alone when you are dealing with a mental disorder.
I felt like some details about the characters came so out of nowhere that I couldn’t take the author’s word for it. Some other details were too obvious to spark any emotion from me other than a shrug. Also, some of the conversations that the characters had seemed a bit too juvenile for my taste.
I really loved the topics Julia decided to tackle in this novel since some were new to me and some weren’t. With that said, I feel like the execution fell short. It had a lot of potential but the exclusion of certain details really put a damper on things.
Another thing I really liked was the development between our main character and her step father. I felt like Julia did that relationship justice and I couldn’t be happier with the way things were wrapped up in the end for both of them.
I also really liked getting to know Micah, Brooke’s love interest. Even though a lot of the scenes that were skipped resulted in me not being able to be on board with their relationship, I still liked him as his own character. I really wish I could’ve seen his point of view as well. But I am more than happy with everything we got to see from him nonetheless. There was ONE line he said close to the end that completely tore me apart and made me cry but I’ll keep it to myself because of spoilers. I didn’t like the way Brooke treated him and I honestly still think he deserved better but whatever makes him happy makes me happy. I had nothing but respect for him and for everything he has accomplished for his age.
Anyway, I’ll definitely be on the look of out for the next Julia Day novel. I am curious to see what other topics she chooses to tackle next.