Friday, May 8, 2015

What Remains ~ Helene Dunbar (earc) review [@Helene_Dunbar @fluxbooks]

What Remains
May 8, 2015
288 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from TBD/or Amazon

In less than a second...
... two of the things Cal Ryan cares most about--a promising baseball career and Lizzie, one of his best friends--are gone forever.

In the hours that follow...
...Cal's damaged heart is replaced. But his life will never be the same.

Everyone expects him to pick up the pieces and move on.

But Lizzie is gone, and all that remains for Cal is an overwhelming sense that her death was his fault. And a voice in his head that just...won't...stop.

Cal thought he and his friends could overcome any obstacle. But grief might be the one exception.

And that might take a lifetime to accept...

What Remains is a wonderful, heartbreaking, sweet, funny and heartwarming tale of friendship, loss and love.

Cal, Lizzie and Spencer have been best friends for nearly as long as they can remember. Now that they're in high school, their bond, their closeness has started more than a few rumors. They don't care about the rumors, they know the truth.

Cal and Spencer would each do anything for Lizzie, anything to keep her safe, even get up at two in the morning to get her. So, when a terrible accident kills Lizzie and ends Cal's baseball career, he can't help but feel like he failed.

It doesn't matter who tells Cal that it isn't his fault, he can't help the guilt that he feels. That one moment changed so much and now, somehow, Cal is expected to put things back together, to move forward.

We only  have a short while to get to know Lizzie, Spencer and Cal prior to Lizzie's death, but it's enough. Through those few glimpses, it is easy to see what great friends they are, how much they care about one another, and how large of a part of each other's lives they are.

Cal not only loses the ability to play baseball competitively - not to mention any hopes of going pro - but one of his best friends, someone he felt a need to protect, dies and he's received a heart transplant.

Just losing Lizzie would have been more than enough, but now it seems his whole life has changed. Instead of starting training, going to practice and time with his two best friends, Cal has a medication schedule, a new diet and only one friend.

The loss, grief, and guilt Cal feels can be hard to read about but Spencer's continued presence, his constant support and friendship and the new opportunities Cal's presented make it easier. Even with all of the pain, with everything that Cal's struggling to accept, there is hope in What Remains.

The characters, the relationships and the emotion were all very well done in What Remains. The story is realistic and thoughtful but also sweet and endearing.

Other books you may also enjoy: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver and The Forgetting by Nicole Maggi

digital review copy received from publisher, via NetGalley

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