This title caught my eye, and I couldn’t help but think this had to be mislabeled as YA. It actually isn’t. This book is about facing the future when your plans go up in flames, and YA’s are really the ideal audience for this message. I hesitate to say it, but if you like Nicholas Sparks and would like a break from cancer, this book offers the a strong and emotional story that you will probably enjoy. If you hate Nicholas Sparks, as I do, you can still enjoy this emotional story without rolling your eyes and laughing inappropriately. Four stars.
First came love, then came marriage, and then…
For seventeen-year-old Tam, running off to marry her musician boyfriend is the ideal escape from her claustrophobic high-school life on the island, and the ultimate rebellion against her father and stepmother. But when Tam becomes a widow just weeks later, the shell-shocked teen is forced to find her way forward by going back to the life she thought she’d moved beyond—even as her struggle to deal with her grief is forcing her to reinvent herself and reach out to others in ways she never imagined.
This was a unique premise, and though I’m not sure how many readers can relate to the exact experience, it brings up the more universal question of what to do with yourself when your entire plan for your future is irrevocably changed. Seventeen year old Tamsin had her entire life planned out until her young husband died unexpectedly. It changed everything, and like any crushing blow to a young life, it left her feeling lost. Tamsin was sort of an alien character for me because a lot of the things I value she didn’t care about even before her husband died. I was still pretty engaged by her character, though, and this really was a Buildungsroman in the sense that her journey was about finding her place in the world. This is a character driven book, so the pacing was designed (very well) to develop her character and the relationships she forged in the aftermath of her disaster. I found the setting almost as interesting as Tamsin, an island populated by aging hippies and their children, where values and lifestyles created an intriguingly different experience from the one I grew up with. Overall, this was a well written and hopeful book that I think many of my students will enjoy. Language and situations are appropriate for high school.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.