Just when Grace is beginning to get used to being an orphan, her estranged uncle suddenly comes forward to claim her. That might have been okay if he’d actually spoken to her since her father died. Or if moving in with Uncle Rusty didn’t mean returning to New Harbor.
New Harbor just reminds her of all she’s lost: her best friend, her boyfriend and any memory of the night that changed her forever. The truth about that night is hard to find — and what happens when her healing hurts the people she cares about the most?
After reading all the stellar reviews of this book, I was kind of sad that I didn’t love it as much as everyone else did.
I thought the message was pretty great–about grief and moving on and surviving no matter what life throws at you. And Grace was a really strong character and seeing how she moved on and dealt with this was really heartwarming (also heartbreaking at how many terrible things life has thrown at her).
But I felt like some of the execution was a little off to me. Like, I liked how they went and tried to track down her rapist, but I also feel like it was a little far-fetched that they could actually find him and managed to track everything down.
Grace didn’t even know anything about that night, and only through a some-what rushed series of scenes where they went from one person to the next asking them about that night were they able to figure out who the rapist was.
It just felt a little far-fetched and underdeveloped, because they started off with literally nothing and the wrong person, and somehow wheedled the proper information out of people without any red herrings or intentional deception.
It was like the book was a coming-of-age/acceptance novel, with a half-developed mystery sub plot of discovering who Grace’s rapist was. I think I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if the mystery was taken out or just developed more, because right now it felt like it was just in the awkward middle area.
But, despite this, I still enjoyed the character relationships.
I think Grace’s familial relationships with Rusty and Eleanor and even Rusty’s new girlfriend-turned-wife, Faith, were very well done and I loved seeing how they moved on from their grief over Grace’s dad’s death.
I also really liked how Grace and Janna mended their friendship because friendship themes are so important and I just totally adore what it added to the novel.
But, I wasn’t too into the relationship between Grace and Owen. I know so many people talked about how they loved it, but I was just…not into it.
It’s not like Grace and Owen’s relationship was problematic, but I just really felt like it wasn’t necessary. I think Grace’s acceptance story plus an expanded mystery would have really filled the gaps and let the book be more impactful.
Their romance was cute, but it just seemed sort of frivolous to me, and I also had a hard time letting go of the possibility that Owen was lying. Because the way Curtis dispels the notion is by telling us how the main character believed him and how he looked honest.
But honestly? I didn’t believe him. Maybe I’m suspicious and obviously the reader doesn’t know Owen that well, but giving him that much benefit of the doubt was not something I do.
Overall, this book has a lot of great messages in it, but it just ended up being okay and not really for me. I would recommend if it sounds interesting and if you’d like to read a novel on the effects of rape.
Thank you so much for Kid Can Press and Netgalley for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!