The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: January 26th, 2015
ARC provided by Edelweiss and Simon Pulse
Angie’s Review – 1 Skull – F
Phew. What a ride! So, this was one of those books where I look around questioning if I just read the same thing everyone else did. And I wonder if part of this was my expectations going in. I’ve just started reading (and loving!) Sarah Dessen, and since this book was touted as being ‘In the tradition of Sarah Dessen,’ I was excited to give it a go. Now let me just say, I have only three SD books under my belt, but this is only similar to her style in the very bare bones of the plot. Yes, there is always a boy involved, but the girl’s entire life does not revolve around said boy. In fact, she has several other things that her life revolves round. I didn’t find that to be the case with The Year We Fell Apart. I found this book to be very clinical – a simple recounting of events as opposed to an experience, and it was mostly about a lukewarm relationship with a boy. So, it’s safe to say this review may be slightly rant-y.
The blurb led me to believe that Harper’s mother’s cancer is a prominent part of the story, but it’s barely mentioned until a catalyst is needed to bring Harper and Declan together. If the cancer portion of the story had been removed, it wouldn’t have changed much. And Harper and Declan – it’s hard to even put into my words how I feel about their…relationship? Both of them bring new meaning to hot and cold. I don’t know what they see in each other, as they seem to bring out the worst sides of each other.
Harper’s bad girl image was very hard for me to swallow. The reasons she acted the way she did ‘back in October’ didn’t ring true to me, so I couldn’t help but doubt everything after that. We’re given a few different reasons why she does the things she does throughout the book (one that was actually quite major, but was glossed over and never revisited again,) and her friends rarely call her on it and ask her what’s going on. Except occasionally Dec, but since he’s hot one minute and cold the next, how is he supposed to get anywhere with that? At the end of the book, Harper’s relationship with Dec felt like it wasn’t resolved at all, and I wish it had just been ixnayed from the story. There was bullying and slut shaming going on in this book, and while it wasn’t glossed over, it was never fully explored. Why not throw some cyber and text bullying in there? Why not bring Harper through a really tough time, and show girls and boys that what others think of you doesn’t define who you are? And the mistakes we make, while haunting, are learning opportunities no matter our age? Amp up the plot and give us something to focus on besides Declan and his moods.
I did enjoy Harper’s best friend, Cory, and the friends she made in her photography class. They were a breath of fresh air in an otherwise angst-ridden story, and they really gave me hope that they could help Harper turn her life around. But alas, Harper’s ‘bad influence’ friend Sadie reigned, popping up in spurts long enough to let us know that maybe if Harper wasn’t friends with her, she’d be making better choices. Sadie led Harper to those parties where she made bad decisions, and if it weren’t for her…you get the gist.
I almost abandoned this story at 23%, and I wish I’d have done that. In the end nothing was resolved, and I feel like this book was trying too hard to be something it wasn’t. It just didn’t work for me.
Thank you to SIMON PULSE and Edelweiss for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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