I'm a bookworm of the highest caliber! If you see me, I'll probably be reading. There's nothing I love more than finding a good book, and then sharing it with the world!
It's been a while since I read a really well written Contemporary Young Adult book, so The Year We Fell Apart was a welcome experience. Beautiful writing, believable characters, and just enough twisty issues to make everything interesting. I have to say, Emily Martin stole my heart. I powered through this in just a few hours and enjoyed every minute of it.
Now, keep in mind that this is definitely aimed at the YA crowd. If you can't settle yourself into the headspace of a teen, with all the crazy emotions and potentially bad decisions that come along with that, you probably won't be able to get into this book. See, Harper is definitely flawed. Just like all the rest of us are. It's actually one of the things I loved most about her character. While I didn't always love her for the choices she made, it was the fact that she was ultimately human that made me smile. Hell, we've all chosen made poor choices. We've all pushed that one person away who could have built us back up. It's a part of growing up.
In fact, what impressed me most was how expertly Emily Martin navigated the pitfalls of being a teenager who is still feeling their way in the world. Harper has to face one of the scariest things highschoolers ever face, and that's a reputation. One bad decision. One case of poor judgement, and Harper is forever labeled a "slut". The fact that Martin showed the pain that Harper was suffering and where that all stemmed from, only hammered home the fact that it was ultimately Harper's decision. Wrong or not, she didn't deserved to be judged so harshly. But she was. That's high school.
When you pile on a mother with an illness, a former best friend who disappeared and might be something more, and trying to add new friends to the mix? Well, it's no surprise that this whole story is a jumble of emotions. I felt for Harper. I've been in her shoes. Lots of people have. Which is why it's easy to relate to her, even when she's being a bit over-dramatic. Again, teenage hormones. They're hell.
There were only a few things that knocked this down a star for me, the main two being that I really wanted Harper's friend Sadie to disappear and the whole romance with Declan was never really resolved. Sadie was a terrible influence. I think Sadie was there to give a possible reason why Harper may have made the choices that she did, but truth be told I really wished she'd wise up and ditch her. As for Declan, well he was ultimately hot and cold. I know not every story can have a happy ending, but I think Harper deserved one. Or, at the very least, the concept that you can go through hell and come out whole on the other side needed to be emphasized. Something, to make it all worth while.
Overall, I enjoyed this read though! I'd say that if you're a fan of Contemporary YA, you probably will too.