A few years back I had a bias against young adult books. I thought they were written for, well, young adults and I was so beyond that stage. I had this vision of them being immature and appealing to readers who thrive on a character’s self-piteous meltdowns. However, someone loaned me a ya paranormal and I became engrossed and then my bias vanished.
I realize that there are still some of you readers out there who are unconvinced, but I hope that you might give one a try, especially one of the two (or both) of the books that I’m going to be reviewing this afternoon.
I no longer think of ya books (of any subgenre) as a guilty pleasure, especially when it comes to novels by Jessi Kirby and Sarah Dessen who are currently writing some of the most fabulous, moving poetic prose you’re likely to read in contemporary literature of any genre.
Today’s first review is of:
August 1, 2017
Blurb from Goodreads: Gorgeously written and emotionally charged, The Secret History of Us explores the difficult journey of a teenage girl who must piece her life together after losing her memory in a near-fatal accident.
When Olivia awakes in a hospital bed following a car accident that almost took her life, she can’t remember the details about how she got there. She figures the fog is just a symptom of being in a week-long coma, but as time goes on, she realizes she’s lost more than just the last several days of her life—she’s lost her memory of the last four years. Gone is any recollection of starting or graduating high school; the prom; or her steady boyfriend Matt. Trying to figure out who she is feels impossible when everyone keeps telling her who she was.
As Liv tries to block out what her family and friends say about who she used to be, the one person she hasn’t heard enough from is Walker, the guy who saved her the night her car was knocked off that bridge into the bay below. Walker is the hardened boy who’s been keeping his distance—and the only person Olivia inexplicably feels herself with. With her feelings growing for Walker, tensions rising with Matt, and secrets she can’t help but feel are being kept from her, Olivia must find her place in a life she doesn’t remember living.
SASCHA DARLINGTON’S REVIEW
Jessi Kirby’s The Secret History of Us is so beautifully written and engrossing that you won’t want to put it down and I wouldn’t have except for two reason: life and I wanted to prolong the story as long as possible, but I’m not very good about that last one, not when a novel captures me as this one did.
In some ways, Liv’s story unfolds like a mystery, mainly because Liv can’t remember her recent past. She struggles to reconcile the changed look of her best friend who seems all grown up and this boy who says he’s her boyfriend, whom she’s supposed to love. Because of her memory loss, she depends on her family and friends to tell her who she was and she tries to be that person, even though it doesn’t always feel right. And then she’s not sure that she can even trust them to know who she was at the time of the accident.
As Liv moves through life after being released from the hospital, we are with her, understanding how she is trying to be herself despite not knowing who that is, her surprise at changes, her doubts, her need to fill in the empty spaces, and then her slow acceptance of how life should proceed.
I almost want to open the book and reread it now.
As I write this, I have to be honest with you. I would have liked another 20-50 pages and I’m trying to decide if that’s the reader in me who just can never get enough. In some ways it helps me understand all of those people who seem to need those epilogues I detest because can anyone say: spoon-feeding? Right now it’s hard to tell you why I wanted those additional pages because I feel like it would be a spoiler. I’ll just say, “I wasn’t ready for this one to end.”
And maybe that’s the entire reason. When you are reading something so satisfying and beautiful and insightful, it’s hard to let it go.
I highly recommend The Secret History of Us, to those of you who love ya books and to those of you who would like to give one a try. It would make a great book to add to your vacation reading if you still have one coming up.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
From Amazon: The Secret History of Us
5 out of 5 butterflies