on June 23rd 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
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Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy's soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?
Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life. . . . She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents' relentless worrying. But Emmy's parents can't seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.
Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart. . . . He'd thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who had kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing, and his thoughts swirling.
Readers who love Sarah Dessen will devour these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver's father's crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.
4 Stars! A touching, heartwarming, pensive read!
“Oliver’s absence split us wide open, dividing our neighborhood along a fault line strong enough to cause an earthquake. An earthquake would have been better. At least during an earthquake, you understand why you’re shaking.”
This thought-provoking story is about a parental kidnapping and the impact it has on the lives of the friends and family of a young boy who was taken by his father. Oh, the joy when he’s finally found, or maybe not…
Oliver’s not a little boy anymore, he’s a teenager with his own opinions and feelings about what happened. He’s been taken all over again from the only world he knows and a father he loves, but who he’s angry with and feels betrayed by. Now he lives with a mother he barely remembers and can’t connect with, has sisters, a step-father and feels like an outsider in his own home.
Then there’s Emmy, his childhood best friend, they were going to be together forever. Can they rekindle their friendship and will it lead to something more? Is Oliver the same boy that Emmy adored when they were kids? It was sweet to watch them reconnect and Oliver’s memories of their friendship return, but what really struck me about this read was Oliver’s internal turmoil about what happened to him and how he deals with his new life. Emmy becomes his sounding board, she’s patient, kind, understanding and she encourages Oliver to express his true feelings to his mother and it’s only then that he starts to heal.
Emmy is also dealing with her own issues, overly protective paranoid parents that are having trouble letting go, which stems back to Oliver’s disappearance. She in her own way is paying the price for what happened to him all those years ago. Emmy’s mom and dad witnessed Oliver’s mother’s emotional breakdown firsthand and it’s had a profound affect on them and the restrictions they’ve placed on her, and in some respect, she resents Oliver for it.
Oliver’s dilemma and the conflicted feelings he had about his parents broke my heart. He was so young and impressionable when he was taken, that he believed the lies his father told him. His dad was the only parent he knew for so long and then he’s expected to instantly love a mother who was the enemy all those years and hate the father who he loves so much, a lot for a teenage boy to comprehend. The ending was bittersweet for that aspect of the story but his relationship with Emmy will please readers!
This is unconventional coming of age love story mixed with family drama and teenage angst. I loved Drew and Caro, whose lives were also forever changed when Oliver was taken, he was their friend too and they were every bit as traumatized as Emmy was. Their perspective and how they dealt with his disappearance and then eventual return, added another interesting layer of depth to the read. Very enjoyable!
About the audiobook…
Wonderful narration by Pheobe Strole. She did a great job voicing all the characters and skillfully expressed this emotional journey. She captured all of Oliver’s raw tender feelings, Emmy’s free spirit and sweetness, Drew’s fun loyal personality, and Caro’s in your face attitude and protective nature!