I’ve somehow managed to get a cold (or something) in the summer, so let’s get caught up on my book reviews from my couch, shall we?
I’m going to start out by saying that I’m a harsh critic of books. I have multiple books on my Kindle (and probably on my bookshelf) that I started and never finished. So while I may critique a book to its core… if I finish it, I liked it overall. I’ll also go ahead and say there was one thing about this book that truly bothered me by the time I finished. But I finished. I was HOOKED. I absolutely had to know what happened next. Stay with me here.
I read this book during the course of one day while on my honeymoon. You read that right: I spent that long in a single day reading a book while in Hawaii on my honeymoon. At one point my husband suggested getting into the pool and I made him wait because I was at a crucial part that I refused to back down from.
I had read one other book by Rebecca Phillips before: OUT OF NOWHERE, and I really enjoyed it and highly recommend, along with this one. THESE THINGS I’VE DONE just came out last month, and I’ve known about it for a long time (thanks Eric!) and couldn’t wait to read it!
The book is about a girl (Dara) beginning her last year of high school, on the heels of a year-long trip away from where she grew up to get away from rumors and her past. A past where her best friend died in a horrible accident… that she feels responsible for.
Dara’s guilt throughout this book DESTROYED me. Ms. Phillips does such an incredible job of making those emotions come alive. I felt her pain every step of the way, and as her relationship with Ethan changed throughout the book, I felt like I was there with her. In high school. It was weird. (Can we all just agree high school was a weird and oddly traumatizing time for all of us? Moving on!)
There is so much conflict in this book that I felt like I was on eggshells the entire time reading it. And I mean that in a great way. Everywhere Dara turned there was something holding her back from moving on from Aubrey’s death. She couldn’t escape it, and was told to stay away from the one person who had a shot of helping her try.
Which brings me to what bothered me about this book: I felt cheated that a confrontation that was hinted out throughout the entire book never happened (I’m trying SO HARD here to not give anything away. I want you to read it yourself!). Ms. Phillips does this amazing job of raising the stakes and making you need to know how it’s going to turn out, but one of the things that was destroying me, waiting for it to happen, never did. And I’m sad about it. I felt like that’s what could have been the defining moment for Dara: facing up to these people and what really happened when Aubrey died.
But all in all, I truly loved this book. I’ll probably end up reading her other ones that are out, and will continue to keep up with her as her writing career continues. I’m a sucker for YA contemporary (I consider my own book half fantasy, half contemporary, if that’s a thing) so this is definitely right up my alley. Thanks for writing, Rebecca Phillips ❤