Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, YA
Publish Date: 7th July 2015
When high school senior Kelsey's identical twin sister, Michelle, dies in a car crash, Kelsey is left without her other half. The only person who doesn't know about the tragedy is Michelle's boyfriend, Peter, recently deployed to Afghanistan. But when Kelsey finally connects with Peter online, she can't bear to tell him the truth. Active duty has taken its toll, and Peter, thinking that Kelsey is Michelle, says that seeing her is the one thing keeping him alive. Caught up in the moment, Kelsey has no choice: She lets Peter believe that she is her sister.
As Kelsey keeps up the act, she crosses the line from pretend to real. Soon, Kelsey can't deny that she's falling, hard, for the one boy she shouldn't want.
Lara Avery delivers a breathtaking story of love and loss that is guaranteed to break your heart and sweep you off your feet.
I know I shouldn’t start off a review for a book off of NetGalley with this, but I didn’t expect to like this book. Certainly not as much as I did. It could be because the description began with ‘for fans of Nicholas Sparks’ or it could be because the premise seemed too cruel, but I didn’t expect to enjoy it that much. You’re probably wondering why on earth I bothered requesting it then. I did so, despite my doubts, because the premise intrigued me. The idea of a twin pretending to be the other appealed to me as it was very reminiscent of those films I watched as a child on the Disney channel whilst being much more honest and real.
I thought Kelsey’s pretending to be Michelle would be a lot less appealing than it was, but the explanation in the book was so logical and understandable that I came to enjoy it and accept what she was doing ignoring the consequences, much as she did. I felt like that it was understandable, the pretending was explained away very well, as was Kelsey’s justifications for what she was doing. It was not justifiable, but Kelsey’s grief did lead her to do stupid things, who doesn’t become a bit unreasonable when dealing with grief?
I know this book seems like it should be about the romance, and Peter is a very large part of the story and Kelsey’s journey within the book, but he is just a trigger for the journey. He is a person who helps direct and influence her path, but it is still all about Kelsey and Michelle. It was heart-breaking to see Kelsey discover more and more about Michelle, the sister she lost who she loved but had distanced herself from in life. It was only after her death that she truly got to know her once more, like when they were children. They were probably closer after she died than they had been in years. It was interesting to watch Kelsey grow and be influenced by Michelle, even without her being there, as she learnt more about her sister she also learnt more about herself and what she wanted.
Kelsey had spent so much of her life taking the easy path and gliding through life doing the bare minimum when it comes to school and the boy she dates and the friends she has, her only commitment was to appearances and to dance, which was her passion. Following Michelle’s death she is led to question her decisions, because she distanced herself from her sister thinking she had all the time in the world with her, and never truly learnt who she was a person. Now she has to question what else she had been wrong about. She begins to study art history to bring herself closer to Michelle, unwilling to let her go and accept her death.
I think this book is more about realising that which our passionate about and being brave enough to go and strive to achieve it, much like Michelle did with her continual looking for love and falling and out of love so easy, and her passion for art and music. And like Kelsey is passionate about dancing. It was about being willing to put your neck out, as Kelsey did when she admitted her crazy decision to Peter. It is all about being brave, living in the moment and realising that which is important to you.
I did have some issues with book, I was not a huge fan of the ending. I won’t spoil it for you, but it did ruin the book in some ways. I enjoyed it, but I would have enjoyed it more if it had ended a bit sooner and left it a bit more open ended for me. I also did occasionally feel a bit distanced from the book and the characters with the way the book was written, and that could have just been me, but I noticed either way. I also wish we experienced more of Kelsey’s relationship with Michelle, you got small anecdotes, and you saw what she did following Michelle’s death, but there is very little which makes you witness their relationship and how they drifted about. Some things were small niggly things, others bigger, but overall I liked more than I disliked. This would not necessarily have been a book I would have chosen to buy, not with that summary. But now I have read it it would be one I would suggest to others if you want an interesting contemporary read.
Have you ever had that with a book where the description puts you off before you begin reading but then it completely surprises you?