Featured Review: Every Other Weekend (Abigail Johnson)
About This Book:
Adam Moynihan’s life used to be awesome. Straight As, close friends and a home life so perfect that it could have been a TV show straight out of the 50s. Then his oldest brother died. Now his fun-loving mom cries constantly, he and his remaining brother can’t talk without fighting, and the father he always admired proved himself a coward by moving out when they needed him most. Jolene Timber’s life is nothing like the movies she loves—not the happy ones anyway. As an aspiring director, she should know, because she’s been reimagining her life as a film ever since she was a kid. With her divorced parents at each other’s throats and using her as a pawn, no amount of mental reediting will give her the love she’s starving for. Forced to spend every other weekend in the same apartment building, the boy who thinks forgiveness makes him weak and the girl who thinks love is for fools begin an unlikely friendship. The weekends he dreaded and she endured soon become the best part of their lives. But when one’s life begins to mend while the other’s spirals out of control, they realize that falling in love while surrounded by its demise means nothing is ever guaranteed.
*Review Contributed By Olivia Farr Staff Reviewer*
EVERY OTHER WEEKEND is a compulsively good YA contemporary that deals with some heavy topics. We follow Jolene and Adam in alternating chapters, primarily during their time visiting their fathers in a terrible apartment complex. Adam's parents still love each other, but have separated after the death of his brother, primarily due to the trouble they have had healing. Adam is angry about all of it and he is not sure who to lash out to.
Jolene is a pawn in her parents' horrible divorce game. They hate each other, and since they each felt like the other wanted her, they are fighting over her visitation constantly. Her mother is emotionally and at times physically abusive, and her father is completely negligent, working the whole weekend when she is at the apartment- an apartment he got to show how poor he was, even though her mother is convinced that he is hiding money away (and he very well might be). Instead, Jolene spends the time with his girlfriend, Shelly, who is not much older than Jolene and was, in fact, the reason her parents divorced.
Jolene and Adam are on a collision course, and their friendship is the thing that makes their weekends at the terrible apartment complex worthwhile. The friendship is developing into love, but each are broken by their lives in ways that will need to be healed before they can forge forward.
What I loved: This book is really deep and thoughtful, not shying away from neglect, abuse (parental and relationship through a friend), and the mental/emotional toll these can have. The book also tackles grieving the death of a loved one and the challenges of healing. Towards the end, and this may be a spoiler (but it also deserves a warning), it also tackles sexual assault and the need to trust your gut.
It is hard to describe how deeply this book can resonate on so many levels. Because it takes on so many heavy topics, it is also a challenging read- but so very worthwhile. The characters are fully realized and Adam and Jolene leap off the page.
Final verdict: Heartfelt and soul-probing, this is a book that will leave readers with a heady book hangover- that is so very worth it.
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