Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin

Monday, January 18, 2016

Just Finished Reading ... The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin

The Year We Fell Apart
by Emily Martin

To be published on January 26, 2016
by Simon Pulse

Source: eARC from publisher for review

Synopsis from Goodreads: Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan. Now, after two semesters of silence, Declan is home from boarding school for the summer. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger…more handsome. Harper has changed, too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis. While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, and the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on. But he’s also the one person she’s lost the right to seek comfort from. As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.
My take: I love realistic fiction and love flawed characters, but had mixed feelings about The Year We Fell Apart. It seemed to be trying to be a second-chance-at-love story, a redeem-the-misunderstood-girl story, and a illness story all in one. For me, that was too much.

The way the story was told -- at least for the first half of the book -- was confusing and a little alienating to me as a reader. There are a bunch of characters between whom some drama has happened in the past. For the first half of the book, I felt a like the odd person out at a party -- you know, when everyone knows one another and talks in shorthand. I didn't really understand what had gone on between this group of people. I was expecting to be able to piece together a timeline of Harper and Declan's breakup: a led to b and then c. When I finally did understand, it seemed like a list of unrelated events:  a death and a break-up and a scandal and something about the swim team.  For more explanation under spoiler protection, check out my Goodreads review.

I found Harper very hard to understand and relate to. Because we're all flawed, it's immensely satisfying to watch a character face up to that fact. It was beyond frustrating to watch Harper make the same mistakes over and over and then complain about being judged and misunderstood. It also didn't help that Harper's problems, while upsetting to her, absolutely paled in comparison to the things that people around her were going through -- people who needed her. I also wish the book had done more to address Harper's drinking problem -- every time she drank, she made choices that she regretted later on.

For me, this book would have worked better if it had focused more on what the book seemed to want to be about: a girl trying to come to terms with mistakes she's made and redefine herself as a person. I don't feel like the story quite got there in the end. As much as I like characters to get a happy ending, I couldn't help feeling that the book copped out on making Harper do the work that she needed to get one.

tl;dr: Though I liked the idea behind this book, the slow-reveal plot structure and distracting subplots made it a less satisfying read than I was hoping for.

20 comments:

  1. I hate when that happens. It's like there's a private joke you're not privy to!

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    1. It's something that always bugs me because I MUST KNOW EVERYTHING

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    1. You can try it and then we can compare notes...

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  3. Aw dang, I'm sorry you didn't particularly love this one. I've thought it sounded wonderful since I first read the summary, but I've read some pretty mixed reviews. I get so frustrated when characters make the same mistakes over and over and don't really learn or grow. Thanks for the review!

    ~ Lefty @ The Left-Handed Book Lover

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    1. It sounded like just the kind of book I like, but when I can't relate to the main character, that's hard for me...

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  4. Oh, bummer! I just requested and grabbed this one. I would have skipped it if I would have known because it definitely sounds like I won't like it since those would all be things that would bug me. Ugh. Too bad. Thanks for the review, Jen!

    Tressa @ Wishful Endings

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    1. Well, look forward to hearing your thoughts. Maybe you'll feel differently!

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  5. Contemporary isn't my favorite anyways, but I this one sounds like it was a bit too full of plot points. Sorry you didn't enjoy it more, Jen. As always, I appreciate your candidness. ;)

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  6. This is one I have wanted since I saw it a while ago. But now I have seen lots of mixed reviews on it so I might hold off and not run for it when it comes out. Seems like it just took on too much. Great review!!

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  7. I just read another review that felt like the story didn't quite fit together. It sounds like such a good story but I think I might wait awhile on this one.

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  8. Hmm, it does seem like a bit of a let down. :/ I hate it when books bring up big problems and don't address them...like alcoholism or whatnot. Like I recently read a book with drug abuse but it kind of was just swept away with happy girl-gets-boy ending. Which makes me entirely grumpy. GAH. So yeah...I do like this book for the cover though and I feel like it's one I MIGHT try?? But the frustrating repetition of mistakes scares me. D:

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  9. Oh, I just finished this book literally a few hours ago! It's a pity that you didn't enjoy this one as much as I did. Anyway, happy reading and thanks for dropping by Divergent Gryffindor! :)

    Kim @ Divergent Gryffindor: BLOG || VLOG

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  10. I'm sorry this one just did not work well, Jen. I'm not a big fan of contemporary and this one sounds like it had too much going on, so I appreciate you honest and thoughtful review!! :)

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  11. Nick wasn't crazy about this either and thought it was too much like you did. I'm glad I got denied for this as I don't think it's for me.

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  12. Ah, that's a pet peeve of mine. When *too much* is thrown into the plot. It then feels like the book becomes more "issue-based" and that's usually at the detriment of character development. I recently read one (drawing a blank on the title right now, but it was an NA, I believe) and it felt like every issue under the sun was being thrown in. I started to wonder if the author didn't know when to stop so she just kept adding and adding. It began to strain believability and just became a distraction. Sorry to hear that all the subplots distracted form what could have been a really good story.

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

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  13. Hmmm it definitely sounds like the volume of what the book tried to cover took away from actual development of the characters. Thanks for the review of this one Jen!

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  14. Too bad about the pretty cover... Thanks for the heads-up, Jen.

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  15. Oh, I'm so sad you didn't love it, but it sounds like a really frustrating read. I'm not sure I want to give it a chance.
    Good luck with your next read!

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  16. Loved your review. That was actually a very good point you brought up - her drinking problem wasn't resolved! And yes, she made herself out to be victim most of the time, even though the bad decisions were her own.

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