These Things I've Done
“A beautiful, wrenching depiction of loss, the aftermath, and an unexpected ray of light in the darkness. These Things I've Done is equal parts heartfelt and heartbreaking, and absolutely unputdownable.” —Gina Ciocca, author of Last Year's Mistake
“These Things I’ve Done is a raw and beautiful story about recovering and moving on in the aftermath of a tragedy, about the moments when self-forgiveness and peace feel unattainable. Dara’s journey through this struggle is compelling and deeply affecting. Her story will stay with readers long after the last page.” —Charlotte Huang, author of For the Record and Going Geek
BEFORE: Dara and Aubrey have been inseparable since they became best friends in sixth grade. Dara is the fearless one, Aubrey the prodigy, yet despite their differences, they support each other unconditionally. However, as they begin their sophomore year of high school, cracks in their friendship begin to form, testing the bond they always thought was unbreakable.
AFTER: It's been fifteen months since the accident that killed Aubrey, and not a day goes by that Dara isn't racked with guilt over her role in her best friend's death. Now, after spending a year away from home in order to escape the constant reminders of what happened, Dara is back at her old high school to start her senior year. Dara thought the worst thing about coming home would be confronting the memories of Aubrey that relentlessly haunt her, but she soon realizes it isn't half as difficult as seeing Ethan, Aubrey's brother, every day. Not just because he's a walking reminder of what she did, but because the more her feelings for him change, the more she knows she's betraying her best friend one final time.
I'm a huge YA fan and completely loved this latest offering from Rebecca Phillips which follows the life of Dara Shepard both before and after the tragic death of her best friend Aubrey. The novel is told in alternating chapters, bringing the reader closer and closer to the actual moment of Aubrey's death from both sides of the event. Many times when books are written like this I have a hard time liking both timelines equally but this was not the case with this particular book. Instead, I loved gaining insight of how Dara's personality changed from before the tragedy to after. The effects of guilt were a startling contrast but true to the theme of the book. My favorite part is how the relationship between Dara and Ethan, Aubrey’s brother grows between the timelines. Highly recommend to any reader looking for a heartwarming and authentic look at love, grief, guilt, and friendship.