California “Callie” McCoy feels most alive when her feet are planted firmly on her surfboard on a big swell. And one day, she dreams of riding that wave out of her small town. Away from everyone. Her plan is simple: graduate high school. With Callie's best friend gone away to college, she plans on spending her senior year skating by. She isn’t looking for friends, and especially not for love - all she needs are her waves and her twin brother. Even if he comes with an annoying best friend, Jamie Daniels, who she can’t stand. Jamie is a care-free, easy-going surfer who has everything. On the surface, his life appears perfect, but reality is far from it. He has his share of secrets, including one that burns deeper than any other. It’s a good thing Callie hates him because if she didn’t, Jamie knows there’s no way he’d be able to stay away. And then, one night, everything changes. And nothing will ever be the same.
We Thought We Were InvincibleFeatured
Painfully Realistic Coming of Age Story
There was very little I didn't love about this book. The writing is engaging and hooks the reader from the first line, never straying into irrelevance or warring with a limited attention span. The characters are real and their problems aren't ridiculous or far-fetched. Instead, they hit devastatingly close to home. Each of the secondary characters is well rounded and serves a purpose apart from the main two characters, and the romance is beautifully, if at times tragically, realized.
All in all, I recommend this book to anyone who has steeled themselves for a heartbreakingly realistic look into the lives of today's teenagers.
Life and Love
'We Thought We Were Invincible' by Michelle Lynn engages readers with twisting plotlines and searingly romantic scenes. Main characters Callie and Jamie have a lot going on in their lives, from their relationships with their family members, to the losses they've sustained in their lives, to the day-to-day issues that plague them as they plod through their senior year of high school in Gulf City, Florida.
Callie, who has never been particularly popular, finds herself thrust into that world, thanks to her twin brother, Colby, who is dating the popular Morgan. Callie and Morgan become fast friends, despite Callie's wonder at just how that happened when she's never been noticed before. All the while, Callie finds herself bothered by her old friend, Jamie, with whom she doesn't get along so well, but to whom she finds herself attracted. Adding to the uncertainty she feels over these feelings is her relationship with Jamie's brother Jay, whom she considers her best friend and with whom she had a slightly more than platonic relationship before he left for college. It also doesn't help that both Colby and Jay have made it abundantly clear that they dislike the prospect of Callie and Jamie being together.
In addition to all of their relationship issues, there are also parental troubles, from dealing with the grief over Callie's mother's death years before, to Jamie being the black sheep in his father's eyes, and never being given the chance to prove his worth. There is also mention of higher-level troubles, including the toll that bullying can take on an individual. Even though the individual being bullied - in this case a boy named Matthew - is a part of the story, readers never really get to know that character beyond mentions of him, since his character is not given the spotlight in the book. However, his story is more than adequately told, through the eyes of those who know him, or at least know of him, including his grandfather, who comes into the diner where Callie and Colby work with their Aunt Kat.
Sometimes beautifully endearing and sometimes heart-wrenching, 'We Thought We Were Invincible' showcases Lynn's ability to write purposeful, emotional, lovely words about the way in which young adults cope with life and love. There is never only one answer to anything, and this is a theme in the story as they all focus on making decisions that will shape their lives in ways they never could have imagined.
That Moment When Clarity Strikes
California “Callie” McCoy is a typical teenager in many ways: unsure of her future, struggles to fit in, and loves the few friends she has… especially Jamie, who she finally begins a relationship with after years of him pursuing her. They start their senior year of high school full of hope, but, as life is wont to do, will take more than a few dramatic turns, including a tragic incident that more and more teenagers seem to be subjected to these days.
What I loved:
Like most Michelle Lynn characters, every single person in this story felt real, and I connected to Callie immediately. Yes, there were times when I (and she) questioned her behavior and decision making and the crowd she falls in with in order to maintain her tenuous hold on being a fringe member of the “in” crowd, but what teen in that position wouldn’t? I also felt for Jamie, the product of an affair by a career-politician father who demeans his at every turn.
There was a definite theme of bullying in this story, which is something I feel very strongly about. Though it’s not the main theme, it does impact every character after one single event.
What I didn’t love:
Honestly, not much. One of the side stories involved Callie and her twin brother Colby investigating the mystery of who their father is, and that comes to a head at the very end, and I wish it could have occupied a larger chunk of the story. And just when we get a payoff on that plot-line, we jump forward ten years in time to a cliffhanger that leads into the second book. (I’m thankful I don’t have to wait to read We Thought We Knew It All, and neither should you.)
My Final Verdict:
We Thought We Were Invincible is a beautiful, touching story about love, angst, redemption, tragedy, and finally coming to terms with the end of your adolescence. It is thoughtful, humorous, the kind of story every teenager should read.
We ALL Though We Were Invincible, Didn't We?
I thoroughly enjoyed this contemporary offering from Lynn, as it is my favorite genre to read. In many ways, I could relate to the main character Callie's "lostness" throughout the book. In less capable hands, Callie might have come across as boring or self-centered, but instead, as the plot unfolds, Lynn shares with the reader how Callie's indecisive nature is merely a product of her circumstances and the fullness of Callie's character is realized. We learn through both her inner dialogue and her relationships with others how her behavior is simply a manifestation of being true to herself. Her story arc, therefore, is less about growth than it is about self-actualization, something many young people struggle to achieve.
Lynn tackles a lot of big topics in this book: death, loss, love, bullying, and abuse. Each affects the characters in different ways and because the book is told in rotating chapters between Callie and Jamie, we get a broader view of these effects as the plot twists and turns.
The setting of this book was surprisingly refreshing and for me was another well-developed character added to the mix. The sleepy gulf coast beach town was the perfect backdrop for the storyline and I love how Lynn incorporated so much of beach life into Callie's life.
In all, We Thought We Were Invincible was a terrific read, and I am anxiously looking forward to book two in the series. Highly recommend to fans of YA contemporary.
Vivid characters, vivid setting, and vivid emotions.
I’ve read most books by Michelle Lynn, and enjoyed them, but she has really blown my expectations out of the window with this story. The subplots are what really turns this into a five-star read for me—the way they twisted into the novel’s climax. It had heartbreak, love, and exhilarating action scenes. And as always with this author’s writing, there are beautiful, soul-felt themes dotted throughout.
Professionally edited. Suitable for 14+. Vivid characters, vivid setting, and vivid emotions.
“Death teaches us more about life than living ever does.”
Raw Contemporary Romance
As a fan of Michelle Lynn's riveting previous works, this one was quickly added to my TBR pile and I was not disappointed.
Callie is trying to find who she is and the ocean is the only thing that speaks volumes to her. Jamie has liked Callie for a while, but she's blind to it. I loved watching Callie and Jamie grow from your average teens into something more. Feelings blossom and raw, realistic emotions I could relate to are exposed.
Until something happens that changes everything. When life throws them a curveball, it was interesting to see everyone react to it in different ways and realize they aren't as invincible as they think.
Michelle Lynn's writing pulls you in from page one and keeps you turning. My favorite quote: "Chaos took no time at all to develop. It just happened. We didn't get a warning."
Final verdict: Another winner from Michelle Lynn and I can't wait for the second! Fans of contemporary romance will enjoy this riveting read that pulls you into the raw emotions and lives of Jamie and Callie.