January 26, 2016
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In the tradition of Sarah Dessen, this powerful debut novel is a compelling portrait of a young girl coping with her mother’s cancer as she figures out how to learn from—and fix—her past.I really love the setup of Declan and Harper's relationship in The Year We Fell Apart. (The idea is somewhat similar to Last Year's Mistake but wholly different in the details, specifics.)
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.
They are two people - two seventeen-year-olds - who have a lot of history together, then missed out on (or were excluded from) nearly a year of each other's lives, and now they're back together. Or, rather, they're in the same town, around the same people but with quite a bit of distance still between them.
I love the idea of two, used to be best friends who let things happen and ruined their relationship only to, now, find themselves in each other's presence again not sure they want it to be over and done with.
The addition of all that has happened to Harper in the year that Declan was away and how they were separate but also so intrinsically linked elevated the story. We have all of Harper's pain, her frustration, sometimes her acceptance and all of her mixed up emotions over her mother's breast cancer, Declan being back, how things ended with him, how she feels about him, who she's been over the last year, what everyone's saying about her, who she used to be and who she wants to be.
Harper, Declan, Cory, and all of the other characters really are great. The interactions, their past, the way the new characters shake things up, the secrets some of them are keeping from the others (good, bad or both) and how everyone's stories are woven together makes for a really enjoyable book. There is a nice balance of the serious, the painful, the hard with the goofy, funny, sweet and even romantic.
The Year We Fell Apart is a sweet, poignant, real book and you will be happy you read Harper and Declan's tale.
received from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review