Things I Can't Forget Featured
Companion to Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker.Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…
This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt… with her.
Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…
Blew Me Away
I have loved all of Miranda Kenneally's books and Things I Can't Forget may have just topped the list as my favorite.
What I loved: I loved this book more and more after I finished it and had time to think and digest everything. At times, Kate was a difficult character to like. She is not very accepting or understanding of other people's decisions and beliefs and she makes her thoughts and opinions known. Despite that, I found Kate to be real, flawed, and fascinating. Her struggles with her faith are honest and I think many people will be able to appreciate and understand that.
I also love the fact that Kenneally isn't afraid to write about a difficult and controversial topic and make both sides have a voice. That can't be easy to do and she was able to convey real feelings and emotions on every side.
Things I Can't Forget had a great cast of characters and I loved the friendship between Parker and Kate. Their two stories wound effortlessly together and Parker's voice was important for Kate to have nearby.
Final Verdict: Kenneally's books are great contemporary reads. Things I Can't Forget definitely packs the most emotional punch to it. If you are a fan of her other books, don't hesitate to pick this one up.
My New Favorite Kenneally Novel
What I Loved:
I've been a fan of Miranda's since I read Catching Jordan, and I will definitely read anything that she writes. Still, I must admit that I entered on Things I Can't Forget with a certain amount of trepidation, having heard some talk of the focus on themes of religion and the personality of the main character. I feared I might not like this one much, but, actually, Things I Can't Forget has turned out to be my new favorite of her three books.
There is no doubt that Kate will rub a lot of people the wrong way. She is unforgiving, judgmental, prudish, hypocritical, and often downright rude. She wears her faith like an excuse to look at others and deem them lesser than she is. However, Kate never really bothered me, because I could completely see where she was coming from, especially since I had insight into her church, where her young mind and values were shaped, from Stealing Parker. I pity her for not knowing any better than to believe what she's only been told, for having been stuck with such manipulative, close-minded people during her youth. I feel for Kate, because it's so obvious that she's confused and that she'll be working through these issues.
Flawed as Kate is, annoying as she can be, I identify with her so much more than Jordan or Parker. Despite the rather glaring difference of religious beliefs, I was a lot like Kate in high school. I had a really strict sense of values, stricter I think than even I realized. I judged others based off of that and as a defense mechanism, because I felt so lonely and it's better to reject than be rejected. Like Kate, I put off a vibe of not wanting companionship when there was nothing that I wanted more. When I went to college, I had a lot of the same struggles with my own personality and moral code that she has working at this summer camp before her freshman year. Learning not to hold other people to the standards that work in your own life is one of the most important lessons that I think I learned as I came of age, and Kenneally handles it beautifully.
Kenneally also tackles the subject of sexual relations, and, more specifically, their relation to the Christian faith. Can a "good girl" have sex before marriage? Where's the line between and acceptable physical relationship and sin according to God? Kate's best friend, Emily, had an abortion and was kicked out of her parent's house. Kate helped her, but is now haunted by the thought of what she participated in, and said some very unsupportive things to Emily. Her judgment of Emily's sexual relationship stems from a lack of understanding, and she gains additional insight into just how complicated love and sex are when she begins a relationship with fellow camp counselor Matt. In all of this, Kenneally does not preach for or against sex, but about making careful decisions when ready, not feeling forced by society or a boyfriend.
In Kenneally's prior books, I admired her development of friendships, and she shines with that again, but this time it's a female friendship. Parker of Stealing Parker is a significant character in Things I Can't Forget. Because of Parker's somewhat racy past (according to Kate), the two do not start off well, but, over the course of the summer, they learn to understand one another and become real friends. Both Jordan and Parker struggled to find female friends, and I was so happy to see Parker find that. Their relationship really helps Kate grow and understand things from a viewpoint not her own, since Emily's mindset changed too suddenly for Kate to be able to adapt. By coming to understand and accept Parker's choices, Kate is able to reevaluate her relationship with Emily.
Surprisingly enough, given how touchy I am on the subject, the religion in Things I Can't Forget never irked me. Kate's beliefs are very much her own, and not preached in any way. Other characters put forth their own religious views that do not necessarily match Kate's. The tone is one of self-discovery, tolerance, and respect for the beliefs of others, messages I agree with wholeheartedly. The way Miranda turns the creation of arts and crafts into a metaphor for beliefs and the right way to live life is so subtle and perfect.
What Left Me Wanting More:
The one element I would have liked to see developed a bit more is the supporting cast. Kenneally creates such vibrant characters, and you learn a good deal about the secondary characters as well as the main. However, at the end, the whole plot line with the exacting Megan seemed somewhat unresolved. I really want to know what her motivations are, and if they're really based on some sort of dislike of other women, which is how she came off to me. On top of that, I'd really like to know more about what was going on with Brad. Obviously, I still loved the book, but having these characters a bit more fleshed out would have bumped my rating to the full five stars.
The Final Verdict:
Things I Can't Forget will not be an easy novel for every reader, but it's a very powerful one. Miranda Kenneally has written yet another book with a cast that comes wholly alive to the reader. I don't think Kenneally can write a book I won't like. If you like contemporary fiction and haven't read any of her books, what are you waiting for?
I have enjoyed all of Miranda Kenneally's books thus far but this one, THIS ONE, with THIS BOOK BOY sent me spiraling into the land of "I LOVE THIS AUTHOR AND I WILL READ ANYTHING SHE WRITES!"
What I loved: Matt Brown. OK, I'll come back to him in a minute. Miranda Kenneally is a master at covering the hot button issues with grace, honesty and compassion. She has the ability to make the reader see both sides of a situation and creates characters and stories that are realistic and completely relateable. Regardless of whether or not you agree with the choices being made, you're still able to empathize with what these characters are going through.
Life isn't black and white and a person's faith and beliefs are just that, personal, but there comes a point in life when you have to decide what you believe and why. You have to own it. Or not. Kate struggles with a lifetime of expectations and it isn't until she finds herself reeling with guilt over helping her friend that she truly begins to understand this. While spending the summer at church camp, Kate comes face to face with people and situations that go against everything she's ever been taught is "right". She finds herself challenged in ways she never imagined and she'll have to decide for herself what's most important, rules or relationships which is easier said than done especially when she runs into Matt again.
Fans of Miranda Keanneally's know that she writes AMAZEBALL BOOK BOYS! I mean, I loved Sam Henry in Catching Jordan and Will Whitfield in Stealing Parker but Matt Brown is truly one of the Things I Can't Forget! Matt is the kind of boy you want your daughter to bring home and your son to be. He's smart, funny, artistic, and definitely not riding the ugly train especially with those biceps. *fans face* Matt is also grounded in his beliefs and he helps Kate see that nobody is perfect, he teaches her how to forgive and how to see good in others.
Matt also shows Kate how to love. *swoons* These two could be open and honest with each other about every aspect of their relationship which is not always easy to do and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it grow.
What left me wanting: Not.enough.Matt.Brown. In fact, I could read an ENTIRE book dedicated to Matt and his love for music, literature, green beans and of course, his biceps. *hint hint Miranda* ;)
Final verdict: Things I Can't Forget is a beautifully written story about faith, love and becoming the person you were meant to be. READ.IT!
Beautiful. Realistic. And Touching.
Things I Can't Forget is very different from Miranda Kenneally's other books. This one spoke to me more than the other two: it was raw and real. I will admit I was a bit nervous about starting it. Had it not been a Miranda Kenneally book, there is a chance I would have passed. It deals with abortion, a topic I almost always pass on because books that deal with it usually upset me from the way it is portrayed. I don't know why I doubted Miranda Kenneally, because I've decided that when it comes to writing, there is not a thing woman cannot do. Another masterpiece and a new favorite from one of the most talented writers in the world of YA.
This book was just beautiful. Beautifully written and a beautiful story. Everyone has those things in life they can't forget and while for Kate they are more serious than some that others experiences, we all have them just the same. Things I Can't Forget is that journey of learning to accept them and moving on, which was really powerful. Kate is such a real character - she has her insecurities and her faults and that is what made me love her that much more. She is only human. As a character, she grows immensely throughout the book, seen in both her actions and voice.
I also just loved the relationship between Kate and Matt. There is such honesty between the two of them, as well as mutual respect. These kind of relationships aren't prevalent in YA as they should be in my opinion. I love that they can talk and say what they feel and what might cross the line.
Goodness, Miranda Kenneally has done what I thought impossible with Things I Can't Forget: Created a boy even hotter than Sam Henry. His name is Matt and he plays music and guitar and I am swooning like there's no tomorrow for him. Some people love their sports stars, me? give me a boy who plays music and can sing and I am set. I love how interconnected Miranda Kenneally's stories are - characters from both her first two novels make their appearances. The way Miranda Kenneally writes it almost feels like you are checking up on an old friend, while getting to know them better. Parker is a character who you really get to know in Things I Can't Forget and it was great.
I cried over this book. I am not entirely sure why. Things I Can't Forget brought out all the emotions in me and there were just so many touching moments. I loved everything about Things I Can't Forget. There was mainly happy tears throughout the book. Things I Can't Forget has so many moments that are just so memorable. They will stick with you.
The focus on friendship and relationships both was perfectly balanced. Nearly every character in the book is struggling with some sort of relationship and they have to work to bring the issues to light. Kate in particular really learns what it means to be a friend in regards to more than one person. I love books that put such a focus on friendship, because everyone needs their friends. And Kate and Parker get to have awesome girl time and really be there for one another.
This is Miranda Kenneally's best book to date. It's a book I feel will speak to everyone. Emotional and touching, Miranda Kenneally takes readers on an incredible journey in Things I Can't Forget. It's a journey of first love, friendship, and the beliefs that make you who you are. Things I Can't Forget was one of those books that made me smile and just made me have ALL THE FEELINGS.
Basically, Miranda Kenneally please never stop writing. I will be a very sad person if you ever do. You tell the best stories in the most unique of ways. I fall in love with the characters you write and the world they live in.
Things I Can't Forget
I bow down to Miranda Kenneally and her awesome writing skills. Things I Can't Forget is such a powerful story about beliefs, faith and how the definition of right and wrong might not be so black and white.
In this story we meet Kate a teen who loves God, art and her family. She is very strong in her faith having been brought up in the church. She feels she was taught right from wrong and that it is a fine line you cannot stray from. But when her best friend Emily finds herself in a jam and needs Kate's help she comes to the rescue but at what price? Kate feels guilty and it is a guilt that she carries around with her.
I really found myself identifying with Kate. While I was never as strong in my beliefs as Kate is, I can relate to always wanting to do the right thing and worrying when others are straying to far from the correct path. When Kate goes to camp to be a counselor and reconnects with Matt, who she knows from attending the camp herself it's a true test of her faith and her beliefs. Matt is the lifeguard at camp who is definitely someone that Kate likes looking at. These two have some laugh out loud moments. When Matt starts flirting with Kate she is unsure of how to handle it. She has never had a relationship before and what's worse Matt not only attended the camp with her when she was younger, he was also her first kiss! will Kate be able to stay strong in her faith or will Matt be able to get the girl and get under Kate's skin?
I really found Kate to be quite naive. She assumed that just because she was going to church camp that everyone there had the same beliefs that she does. What she found when she got there was counselors who cursed and met each other behind the cafeteria for a little "fun". Maybe if she talked to me before signing up to be a counselor I could have let her in on what really goes on at camp.
Throughout this book Kate has this inner fight with herself going on. Should I? Shouldn't I? There are many times that Kate's faith is tested and not just in regards to Matt and her feelings for him. When she first arrives at camp she is paired up as co counselor with Brad, or as he likes to call himself "Bumble Bee Brad". While swimming Kate notices that Brad where's a shirt despite having an amazing six pack of abs that she can see. She also notices some marks on his arms. Once Brad finally tells Kate his story she is torn with what she should do. Lie and sin? Or keep her friends secret and possibly save him from what he is going through? I think this is one of the friendships I liked most in this book. Even though we don't see a ton from Brad I think this friendship and the fact that she could really be there for him helped Kate see that sinning isn't always a bad thing when it is helping someone.
Kate is an amazing artist and it something that she truly loves. She uses her art almost like a diary throughout the book, sketching different scenes that have taken place in her life and mean something to her. Anytime Kate tells us something that happened in the past it is always through her sketches. I really liked this idea and thought it was a very creative alternative to a traditional diary. Kate's sketches are how she gets her feelings out.
While this book does talk a lot about religion, I really feel that people who are non-religious will be able to enjoy it as well. I did find myself getting frustrated with Kate at times and just wanting her to relax and not take everything so seriously. I felt like she needed to stray from that fine line she was walking and take a little stroll on the wild side. Miranda Kenneally really knows how to show a characters personal growth in her writing While Kate did not grown by leaps and bounds she did show personal growth which I loved to see for her.
The love interest in this book, Matt, is nothing short of amazing. He is sweet, caring and understanding. Perhaps the most wonderful thing about Matt is that he plays the guitar, sings and writes his own lyrics. What is not to like about that? Like Kate, Matt has a past as well. He is a broken man who has gone through a tough break up and it is hard for him to trust. Kate and Matt have some very romantic moments that just make you swoon completely. Plain and simple Matt is every girls dream. He is most definitely my favorite character from Kenneally's books so far.
We also get to see some more of Parker and Will in this book. I fell in love with these two in Stealing Parker. Jordan from Catching Jordan also makes an appearance. If you have not read these two books you should really get on that and then when you are done pick up Things I Can't Forget. You will not regret it. This is one that will be taken off my shelf and reread many times to come. Happy reading.
Review originally posted on my blog: http://www.ramblingsofabooknerd.com/2013/03/review-things-i-cant-forget-by-miranda.html
Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally
Although I saw it was about religion and I was a little iffy, I never doubted it because it was a Miranda Kenneally book. I knew it could be nothing but good. And she definitely did not disappoint.
In the beginning, (no pun intended) I was not really feeling Kate. Only because she was being a judgemental brat. The one thing that got to me most was the way she acted as if no one should sin at any time. It's inevitable. Even the most Holy of people have sinned at least once (Romans 3:23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard). And I was taught that sin is sin, that no matter what, no sin is greater than the other. But that's just me. Anyways, I was mostly mad at the fact that although she was so intent on doing her best to be Godly and Holy, it took her forever to realize that she needed to FORGIVE Emily for the fight they had in the first place. She kept repeating what she had said and what she didn't do over and over in her head, but she never once decided to forgive her.
As the story went on, I was very happy with Kate's growth. She was scared of doing wrong, that she was missing out on things that teenagers should be happy about, such as friends. But as she warmed up more and more I liked the transition she had of being alone to opening up and having friends. It really made me happy to see that she was happy.
Which of course brings me to Matt. Matt was amazing. He stole my heart from the moment he said he liked to read John Green and Judy Blume.