Author: Abria Mattina
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2011
Publisher: Primrose Publications
Synopsis:Eighteen isn’t too young to run your life into the ground, but it’s not too old to fix it, either. The desire for change drives Willa Kirk from St. John’s, Newfoundland back to hometown of Smiths Falls, Ontario, away from her mistakes and the place where her sister died. She’s looking for a place to settle and rebuild, but Jem Harper just wants to get out of town, back to the life he knew before cancer. By letting the tragedies in their lives define them, they are both dying a little more every day. Welcome to the wake.
My Thoughts: I can honestly say I have never read a book like this before. This was a brand new experience for me, and one I am pretty sure is going to leave a mark. I don't usually read books that are about real life problems or experiences, I'm usually lost in some fantasy land where the unimaginable becomes reality. Stepping into this harsh reality was like jumping into a pool of freezing water. What a shock, what an intense read, what an incredible journey.
I think this book was also made more original to me, because it wasn't about what the fighting cancer, or the things people endure during such a traumatic event. While I suppose it had to be a little about that, it was definitely more about the road to recovery, what it's like to be in remission. And how even when you reach that light at the end of the tunnel, it can still be cripplingly blind. And the hard road definitely doesn't end once the cancer is gone, the battle just continues on a new playing field.
Jem is an 18 year old boy in remission. This of course has caused him to endure things no one at that young age should have to, and caused him to mature incredibly fast, while carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. I think almost everyone has known someone with cancer, it's unfortunately far to common an illness. Which is another reason why this book really hits home, and hard. I fell in love with Jem immediately, and not just out of pity, because he would have despised that. He can't stand being pitied, or treated differently. He just wants to be the man he was before cancer came and mutilated his life and left him a shell of his former self. He definitely holds a lot of residual anger, which in turn results in the distancing and loss of all of his friends. Lucky for him he has the most amazingly supportive family ever.
Then in walks Willa. She is a one woman army. She answers to no one and fears no one or nothing either. And although I didn't like her rashness or boldness at first, she really did grow on me. I came to respect and love her, and even adore her straight forward and slight pushiness. Willa has also endured shockingly scary hardships in her youth and carries some really dark secrets. They share the anger and general dislike of the world and the people in it. In the beginning these two are pure poison to each other, but I'm sure you've already guessed it doesn't stay that way. Watching their relationship struggle to evolve, to blossom and wilt a few times before achieving perfection was incredible. This is no, love at first sight, sweep you off your feet romance. This is a real, achingly deep love story about two damaged hearts trying to find a way to let someone in and learn to love themselves again as well as someone else.
This story is heartbreaking-ly real, disturbingly honest, and does not hold back. It's about so much more than battling a devastating illness. It's about the battle that no one else sees, the battle behind the curtains. The battle with one's self. How do you pick the pieces back up when it seems like nothing is left. How do you learn to accept yourself when it feels the sickness took everything you knew about yourself away from you. It had that alternating narrative that I love. We get to switch back and forth from Jem to Willa for days at a time. Everything is so much more personal, and their relationship becomes that much more dynamic when we can see how each of them are struggling and growing. I am so glad I participated in this blog tour, because I loved this book and I want to share it with others. I was surprised by the length, but I am also glad I didn't have to say good bye too soon. I highly recommend this book, to any and all. Do be warned it's not easy on the heart, and it does carry just a few racy moments. But it's such a beautiful story and deserved to be enjoyed by everyone.
Now lucky for all of you, and also for me, I really do get to share this story with one of you lucky people! Make sure you enter the giveaway to win an e-copy below, you won't regret it! Best of luck to all of you! Don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour! For a list of the blogs participating and their dates go HERE.
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