March 28, 2013

Latest Read: Things I Can't Forget

Here are the basics ...
Things I Can't Forget (Hundred Oaks #3) by Miranda Kenneally
Publication date: Mar. 5, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Purchased

Summary: Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different. This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt--with her. Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy. (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The good: Miranda Kenneally has done it again. This is the third book of hers that I've read and every single time, I go in expecting one thing and get something else entirely. Things I Can't Forget is without a doubt, her least "fluffy" book. Do not be fooled by the cover. This is a book that will exasperate you and make you think and struggle to understand how people are sometimes. It wasn't an easy read for me but I truly respect what the author has done here because she tries (and accomplishes) to write something so very real.

It's strange because if I don't like the main character, the book is usually an instant thumbs down for me. The truth is Kate is not instantly likable. She's judgmental, hypocritical, tries to push her religious beliefs onto others and doesn't realize that people can think differently without being wrong. And I know I'm not making a good case for this girl. But I didn't get the impression that I was supposed to want to be her best friend. I think the author wanted us to see Kate and how her mind worked and I did. Because being all those things didn't make her a mean person or even a bad one. She's.. uninformed. Someone who genuinely has the best of intentions and thinks you're supposed live your life exactly as your church tells you to without question. Then circumstances with her best friend and her involvement in summer camp suddenly makes her question everything. She's at a Christian camp and let's just say her fellow counselors aren't living up to her Christian standards. She wonders why they act differently when they were brought up the same way she was. She also meets a guy there, Matt, and things get pretty hot and heavy with them. (Which um, wow! Did not expect the steamy factor!) Now her feelings for him are clashing with what she believes to be right.

All her questions and struggles to understand and balance her beliefs with her life really spoke to me. Not because I necessarily related to her but it made me think. I believe in God but I've questioned certain religious practices all my life and to me, asking questions is a normal, good thing. So it was interesting to me to see the flip side. Someone who doesn't even think or realize you should question what you've been taught. One of the characters, Parker (I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't immediately make the connection to Stealing Parker), was my favorite in the book. She would constantly tell Kate that her relationship with God is a personal thing. Basically - it's none of Kate's business. Watching Kate begin to accept this idea and just open herself up.. it was very gratifying to see her character grow and evolve while maintaining her sense of self.  No matter how I felt about her, I was constantly rooting for her.

(No) reservations: I'll just say again, this is not the book to read if you're in the mood for something light and romantic. But honestly, no reservations here.

Do I recommend?: I really do. Aside from the amazing writing, I love books that explore the complexity of human nature. I know I'm always all -- yay this heroine is so tough and strong and I love her. But Kate is the kind of girl I've known in the past and I'm sure I'll meet many more like her in the future. Reading this book was like stepping inside her mind and giving me a glimpse of the inner-workings. It truly left an impression and I hope you'll give it a chance.

Happy reading!

4 comments:

  1. So happy to read that you loved it! I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on a copy! :)

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    1. Yeah, Miranda Kenneally's writing really improves and impresses me more with each book I read. Hope you pick this up soon!

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  2. I just read Catching Jordan, as you know, and I liked how Miranda was able to write such REAL characters into her book. I'd be interested in reading this one too - but only after I read Stealing Parker first!

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    1. Hah yes! I actually kinda wish I had read them all closer together. Even though they're three separate stories, previous characters do make cameos. So I'm always like.. hmm that name sounds familiar, who was s/he again? haha.

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