April 30, 2015

Review: Love, Lucas by Chantele Sedgwick

Love, Lucas by Chantele Sedgwick
Publication date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received ARC via Edelweiss (Thanks!)
Summary: When Oakley Nelson loses her older brother, Lucas, to cancer, she thinks she’ll never recover, esp. between her parents’ arguing and her depression. When Mom suggests they spend a few months in California with Aunt Jo, Oakley isn’t sure a change of scenery will alter anything, but she’s willing to try. Once they’re settled, Mom hands her a notebook full of letters—from Lucas. As Oakley reads one each day, she realizes how much he loved her, and he challenges her to continue to enjoy her life and move on. Then a surfer named Carson comes into her life, and Oakley is blindsided. As she lets him in, she is surprised by how much she cares. How can she fall in love and be happy when Lucas never got the chance to do those very same things? With her brother’s dying words as guidance, will she have to leave the past behind to find happiness in the future? (greads.com)

The good
Maybe I'm just a sap or maybe the author Chantele Sedgwick is just that good (or both) but it didn't take much for Love, Lucas to evoke some pretty teary emotions from me right away. Oakley Nelson has lost her older brother, best friend and whenever needed, fill-in parent, Lucas to cancer. Her parents are too caught up in their fighting and their own grief to notice her spiraling depression. Or so she thought. Then her mother suggests that the two of them stay with her Aunt Jo in California for the summer. Getting away may not cure the sadness she's feeling but the change of scenery will at least be a welcome distraction. Once they arrive, the beauty of the beach and her aunt's home unexpectedly lift her spirits and then her mom surprises her with something else. A notebook from Lucas filled with letters addressed to her. She begins reading one a day, trying to savor every word, and each new letter is filled with hope, love and the encouragement to keep on living.

Even though Lucas isn't in the book and we only know him through his letters and Oakley's memories, the author made sure we absolutely got how close they were. The brief glimpses of his warm personality and how much they meant to each other were one of the most beautiful parts of the entire book. It made Oakley's pain more real and her inability to move on even more understanding. If I were in her shoes? I don't what I would do. But I knew I wanted her to find joy again. And she slowly does. She finds solace in her aunt's home and her presence. The tensions between herself and her parents continue exist but there are meaningful and much-needed conversations that take place. The author doesn't let either her mother or father fall by the wayside and I was glad because sometimes family can be ignored in favor of.. you know it, the relationship.

But in this case, the relationship was extremely well-done. Oakley meets the boy next door, a surfer named Carson. We see their shy beginnings and how she slowly lets him into her life and begins to care for him. It's something she fights because she feels guilty to move on but when she does let her guard down and let herself just be in the moment, they have some really sweet scenes together. It's the kind of summer love any teenager could easily see themselves hoping for.

(One) Reservation
Literally, just one thing didn't sit right with me and it's something that happens about three quarters of the way in. I'm not saying it can't happen but it did feel sudden and pretty extreme to me. The plot is introspective so I can understand how maybe it seemed like the book needed a big jaw-dropping climax but I didn't think it was necessary and how the aftermath was handled felt rushed.

Do I recommend?
I do! It's a great book! I feel like it's flying under the radar a bit right now and I would definitely recommend checking it out.

3 comments:

  1. Love, Lucas sounds really good! It sounds so sad, but also really sweet, and I do have a fondness for sibling relationships. Particularly with big brothers, because I've always wanted one of my own!

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  2. Wow, this book sounds like such an emotional yet beautiful read! I never heard of it before, but after reading your review I definitely have to add it to my TBR list. This is the type of book I know I would take interest in and enjoy.

    So happy I stumbled across your blog, Rachel. Loved your review.

    Julia @ Peach Print

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