Author: Courtney C. Stevens
Synopsis: Sadie Kingston, is a girl living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max.
As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she’s unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him — even if Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. But when the truth about the accident and subsequent events comes to light, Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future or if she’ll always be trapped in the past.
Huge thank you to HarperCollins for sending me a review copy of this book.
I really enjoyed Stevens’ debut novel and because of that I was really looking forward to this book. A friend of mine made me read this months early because we both got copies form HC and I was like WHY NOT IT’S ONLY A NOVEMBER BOOK hahaha. But I’m glad I read it because it was just what I needed.
This book is very quiet. And I feel like Stevens is going to be known for quiet books. It’s also very honest. Our MC, Sadie, is struggling with the aftermath of a horrible car accident that took the life of her best friend and left her with a lot of physical and mental damage. The details of the accident slowly unspool and as we learn more about what happened we also find out that the group of friends involved have been holding back a lot of truths from each other regarding the accident and themselves.
I loved the friendship dynamics in this. Before the accident Sadie and Gray were dating and Trent and Gina were dating. They were a group of best friends, and Trent’s little brother Max tagged along quiet often. Sadie and Trent are neighbors and best friends and also dare devils. The groups is often out doing fun physical activities and just having a good time. I loved how sweet and just normal they all were. They weren’t the bad kids but they weren’t the super good kids either.
And then the accident takes that away from them. Sadie has trouble connecting with Gray and Gina and she takes solace in Max. They email each other while Max and his family are taking time away from the community to grieve, and slowly the two of them fall for each other.
I was a little worried that the falling for the younger brother thing was going to be weird, but Sadie didn’t date Trent, so it worked okay for me. Trent was her best friend and had his own secrets that she was protecting. The secrets slowly come out along with the details of the accident and the friends slowly come back together with them.
I also really loved the family dynamics in this story. The mother and father are so present and they are so down to earth. They try hard to help Sadie, but are very realistic about how to do so. I liked that they seem very with it and that the families of the friends are also close. It was just very warm feeling.
Another thing that I really like about Stevens writing is that she’s able to balance what is clearly her own beliefs and the beliefs of the characters. I know that Stevens is religious (it’s very obvious in her author bio and acknowledgments) but she is not a religious writer. Her characters do have their beliefs and there are a few religious undertones, but it’s not Christian fiction. And I love that she’s able to do this in her work.