Monday, February 8, 2016

Review: The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin

The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin
Series: Standalone
Published: January 26th, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
314 pages (ARC)
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Acquired this book: From the publisher in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

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.

The Year We Fell Apart is an incredible debut from Emily Martin. It’s honest, realistic, and emotional. I’ve been lucky enough to read a lot of books lately that cement my love of contemporary young adult, and this is another example of contemporary YA done right.

One of the things I liked most about The Year We Fell Apart was that it didn’t shy away from real issues. It was an honest portrayal of the messy, complicated relationships people often have in their teens. Friendship isn’t always easy, romantic relationships aren’t always easy, family life isn’t always easy, and the author dealt with all of those relationships in a way that was full of emotion and truth, while still managing to make me grin and laugh. Harper was flawed - she made mistakes, she did and said things she regretted - but she owned that and she learned from it. Her struggles were very authentic, and I enjoyed watching her growth. 

I also liked the contrast of new friendship and old friendship - the friends who know everything about you, good and bad, and the people you’re just getting to know, who see things about you that surprise you, and are more supportive than you expect. I appreciated that despite being really close friends, Harper and Cory never had romantic feelings for each other. It’s so rare to see platonic boy-girl friendships in books, and I loved that. Mackenzie and Gwen were great additions to the story and while Harper was wary of befriending them, they ended up surprising her in a lot of ways and showing her things about herself - and friendship - she didn’t expect. As for Harper and Declan, they’d known each other forever, had been good friends, then a couple, and then basically nothing to each other. I enjoyed watching them reform a tentative friendship and get to know each other as the people they are now, and then slowly develop the romantic relationship they had before everything went wrong, only stronger.

The Year We Fell Apart is a beautiful, realistic coming-of-age story about friendship, life, and love. Harper gets second chances in many areas of her life, and she makes the best of them. I can’t wait to see more from Emily Martin in the future.

Have you read The Year We Fell Apart? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Do you have a favourite flawed character? How about a favourite second-chance romance?

1 comment:

  1. I've heard really good things about this one. And with this review and that beautiful cover I really think I better get my hands on it.


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