The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release date: Jan 26th 2016
*Thanks to Simon Pulse and Edelweiss for the eARC!*
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: contemporaries are not my strong point. Every time I start one, I get SOO scared that I'd be disappointed. It's fear I might never get over, silly as it sounds. BUT, it does make things so much more wonderful when I end up loving the book. And that's what happened with The Year We Fell Apart.
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.
The best thing about this book was its characters. Or rather, the two main characters, Harper and Declan. Their characters are so three-dimensional, and also incredibly complex. They are the type of characters are are beautiful, even with their many flaws.
Harper is selfish, makes poor decisions and keeps on messing up. Now, those are not great character qualities, but somehow, they made me love her all the more. I think it's because I loved how her utter humanness showed in her character. We all make mistakes. We all mess up. We all have our faults. But it's only human.And the author gets that. We know that Harper isn't perfect, yet we can still root for her.
It's the same with Declan. He's not perfect, either, but I still love him. Both of them are so human. They have fun. They have good times. They mess up. They make poor decisions. It's all just so human. It's what we are. We all have flaws. We all have unhappy times. But there are also good times, happy times, in-between all that. It's realistic.
And I absolutely adored that about this book.
Not to mention the writing style, which was absolutely gorgeous. I was able to immerse myself in the book and the characters completely. There was a soothing, calm quality to the writing for most of the book. It was so smooth and flowing and I AM IN LOVE.
Also, brown points because I didn't get bored! After finishing Bookishly Ever After, which I thought dragged way too much in the middle, I was scared that I would be bored with this, too. But I wasn't! Every moment was a jewel, even the unhappy ones, and I loved the tension between Declan and Harper that kept me on my toes!
I did love this, but I also thought Harper and Declan's relationship overshadowed everything else. I mean, like I loved seeing their relationship bend and change while giving me the FEELS, but I'd have also liked to see the themes in this book explored a little more.
For example, friendship. Cory and Harper are supposed to be really good friends. I mean, they were friends since they were kids! But I didn't see much of the closeness that comes with childhood friendship. It was there, of course, at times, but it was almost always overshadowed by Harper's problems and angst with Declan.
Also, the themes of family and loss. Her mother has cancer, and they are struggling as a family. Even this though, was mostly abandoned in favour angsting over Declan. There were moments, obviously, where these themes were touched on, I but I never really saw these themes explored to their full capacity.
While the romance and theme of first love concluded in a satisfying way, all the other themes were just...abandoned. Or at least that's how it felt like to me. Most of the book was Declan this, Declan that, Declan something else, and while that was perfectly fine, I'd have also liked to see more emphasis on family and friends.
The Year We Fell Apart was a heart-warming book, and I'll also admit that my stone-cold heart gave in and I grew teary-eyed in some places. The two main characters were wonderfully complex, flawed and relatable, and I loved how their relationship formed and changed, but I'd have also liked to see more development of the secondary characters and the other themes of this book.
are you going to read The Year We Fell Apart? what do you think of extremely flawed characters? do you think the romance should be central in a book like this, or would you like the other themes to be expanded more, as well??