Clara is 16 years old and desperately wants to be as different as possible from her mother, Morgan. Despite this, she seems to be making similar choices as her mother did when she was growing up. Morgan and Chris, had Clara when they were very young. Morgan doesn’t want to watch Clara make the same choices, but seems unable to stop it. Chris is the only person who can bring peace to his family. A tragic accident suddenly leaves Morgan and Clara traumatized as they must figure out how to survive without Chris. They both hold onto secrets they hope will never be revealed and find comfort with unexpected and forbidden loves. As Morgan and Clara watch each other struggle with their new lives, they begin to question if they will ever be a family like before.
This was the first book I read by Colleen Hoover, and it was very moving. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the tragic accident was truly shocking to me. What unfolded was an emotional ride that alternated between Morgan’s and Clara’s points of view. It was a bit heartbreaking watching them hold onto their secrets and witnessing actions being misunderstood because of lack of communication.
I enjoyed the alternative perspectives. Clara’s often felt like I was reading a YA romance. Despite her young age, the passages were still very deep and complex. Morgan and Clara both grapple with very strong emotions amidst tragedy, and Hoover did a wonderful job depicting that throughout the chapters.
There were moments when I wished the pace would pick up a bit more. At times, the story could get very heavy for me. It took a while to read because I found the intense emotions to make me reflect on my own life and trauma. Also, Morgan and Clara could be downright awful to each other. I recognize they are trying to figure out this new horrific reality, but there were moments when I questioned why they are being so terrible. Other than those two issues, I really enjoyed the book and will definitely be reading more of Hoover’s work in the future.
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