I have been so excited for this book ever since I finished Faking Normal by the same author. I had loved the characters, the growth, and the way sensitive subjects were handled. I had high hopes that this book would, at least, be equal to it. And thankfully, I was not disappointed.
There were so many reasons I could list as to why I loved this book. Sadie was an amazing character who was hurting, she was grieving, and she was pushing everyone away except the one person who was safe to talk to because he was in a different country. All she saw was her scars when she looked at herself so all she noticed about other people were their reactions to her scars. It made it easy for her to decide to push them away or to not fully listen to what they were saying – even when they only wanted the best for her. She wasn’t going to be able to move on and accept things until she was ready and the struggle to do that, both for her and the people around her, was so well portrayed. It was slow and painful and a lot of two steps forward, one step back.
Max was a great love interest. He was hurting too and the bond that developed between him and Sadie started off by just exchanging e-mails and being able to talk to the one person they each thought would get it. It slowly turned into something more over the course of the year until Max returned. They were taking steps forward together, whether it was talking about Trent or going out in public. Max was sweet and he quickly became one of my favourite book boys.
The book dealt with a lot more than just the physical changes to Sadie and the grief over Trent’s death. Both Sadie and Max, and even their friends Gray and Gina who were in a different car but present for the accident, suffered from survivor’s guilt. The tight friendship between them completely changed. It dealt with acceptance and forgiveness and healing.
I thought the use of flashbacks and the e-mail exchanges between Sadie and Max were really well used. The flashbacks allowed the reader to see the friendship between Sadie and Trent, and to get to know Trent as a character. It also showed the bond between them all. The e-mails, though we only got to see Sadie’s side of the exchange, showed the developing feeling between Sadie and Max and was the only time Sadie felt uninhibited. She could tell Max anything.
Overall, I wouldn’t place this book above Faking Normal but the two books are on the same level for me. They dealt with such different issues and the characters were so different but the themes of friendship and healing were so important to the story.