Ever Since

Ever Since
Age Range
Release Date
May 23, 2023
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An intense, beautiful debut about the power of finding your voice and sharing your story after trauma. Perfect for fans of Nina LaCour and Kathleen Glasgow.

Seventeen-year-old Virginia makes bad choices. In fact, she’s That Kind of Girl, according to the whispers. But as long as she has her tight group of best friends by her side, she’s able to ignore the gossipers. Until she finds herself spending time with Rumi, Poppy’s boyfriend. Breaking with tradition, she doesn’t hook up with Rumi. Worse, she falls in love with him.

While Virginia and Rumi’s relationship grows in secret, she discovers that his little sister, Lyra, is being groomed for abuse. The soon-to-be-abuser is a respected member of the community, and only Virginia knows who he is and what he does. If she stays quiet, Lyra will become a victim. But coming forward feels equally impossible.

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powerful and emotional YA contemporary
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EVER SINCE is an emotional and intense YA contemporary about trauma and abuse. Virginia is a seventeen-year-old girl with a reputation that proceeds her. Her parents are alcoholics and neglectful, and she frequently escapes to her best friend, Poppy's house, particularly when He comes over. Her summer is suddenly changed when Poppy leaves without warning and without responding to any texts to stay with her grandfather. In the wake of her disappearance, Virginia begins spending time with Poppy's boyfriend, Rumi, whose little sister Lyra is one of her tutoring students.

As Virginia spends more time with Rumi and Lyra, she begins to notice patterns that feel familiar in uncomfortable ways, and eventually, she sees that He also knows Lyra and has taken an interest in her. Not knowing where to turn, Virginia knows that she wants to protect this eleven-year-old in the way that she could not protect her younger self, but to do so could have devastating consequences.

What I loved: This was really a potent and consuming read that delves deep into trauma and the ways that individuals may cope with it. Virginia and her best friends used to be close, but they have lately seemed to devolve, as evidenced by Poppy's silence and unexpected disappearance. Thalia has also been giving Virginia the cold shoulder for unknown reasons, but possibly because of the way her boyfriend acts around Virginia and possibly because of other things. Virginia is desperate to reconnect, but she is having trouble bridging the gap. Rumi fills a lot of these gaps, as he provides support and connection when Virginia is feeling particularly adrift - at least, he does up to a certain point.

Notably, this is not a story for sensitive readers. It really delves into topics of consent, grooming, and sexual abuse, particularly child sexual abuse in ways that are described and clear. Through different characters, the reader can also see the ripples of these traumatic events and the ways that they can echo differently in different people. By the end of the book, it becomes clear that there is not a particular type of characteristic of the targets of such abuse (eg, neglectful parents or personal behaviors). The responses to it also differ and can lead to future traumas as well. Along these lines, the book also touches on rape culture and the ways that behaviors around this can manifest in dangerous and harmful ways, even beyond assault.

Virginia is a really consuming character. I found her story and the style of the writing to be unputdownable, even while mired in the intensity of emotion and difficult subject matter. While it does deal with very heavy topics, the book ultimately shows the power of listening, believing, and friendship. While the friends group feels very dissolved and ultimately goes through some terrible things, their reactions and lives have been forever shaped by trauma, which is ultimately explained in their experiences towards the end. For people who have been impacted by similar trauma and/or may know someone who has experienced this type of trauma, seeing and understanding the ways different people can react as well as other signs can be really powerful.

I also appreciated some of the other characters which the reader gets to know through Virginia, such as those who are LGBT identifying (there is a trans character and one who is in a f/f relationship). Rumi is also dealing with a different type of trauma and guilt from his mother's death, and while he is an imperfect character, his story has also shaped him. While trauma was a theme for many characters, they are beginning to work through it with a heavy path ahead. That being said, the book does end on a hopeful note with friendship, truth, and being believed as powerful elements towards healing, as the beginning of the process.

Final verdict: Ultimately, EVER SINCE is a powerful and emotional YA contemporary that will leave the reader with much to think about. Recommend for fans of I AM MARGARET MOORE and SADIE.
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