Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Reading on a Theme: What the Dead Left Behind

We are back with one of our longest-running series. In this "What the Dead Left Behind" post, our main characters once again face the loss of a loved one. Be sure to have your tissues handy. 

 More "What the Dead Left Behind" posts here.


A Plan
Amelia and Jenna have been best friends since the terrible day that Amelia's father left. When Jenna dies in a car accident, Amelia feels bound to stick to Jenna's plan for their lives after high school, even though she was never sure it was what she wanted. Then Amelia receives a mysterious edition of her and Jenna's favorite book, and Amelia knows she has to find out where this book came from even if it mean straying from Jenna's plan. Amelia Unabridged is Ashley Schumacher's debut novel. The people that Amelia meets on her journey are what really make this book, which is at times a bit heartbreaking, as is to be expected. Out February 2021. Review copy from NetGalley. 


Crushing Guilt:
The Cohens, Luke, Rowan, and their mother Mel, are Jessi's family--in some ways more than her own family is. Things get complicated when Mel is diagnosed with cancer and friendship turns into something more with Luke, the older of the Cohen boys. Some Other Now is told in two timelines. It took a long time to get to the reveals in this book. I wanted to know what Jessi had done that made her feels so guilty. Despite the animosity between the two in the later timeline, I desperately wanted Luke and Jessi to be together. Sarah Everett's new book is sad, poignant, and a bit of tearjerker. Some Other Now was out February 2021. Review copy from NetGalley. 

The Day They Met:
This isn't the rosy story of first love because Jack Ellison King only has four months with Kate before she dies. But instead of the story ending there, Jack is sent back in time to the moment he met Kate, and it all begins again. And again. Maybe next time Jack will be able to save Kate. Opposite of Always is a mix of first love, first loss, and Groundhog's Day. I'm always a sucker for the parallel reality set-up, and this book kind of falls into that camp. A story like this can easily become repetitive, but I think Justin A Reynolds did a pretty good job of keeping the timelines fresh and continuing Jack's character arc even when the event did repeat. Out March 2019. Review copy from Edelweiss. 


Ava's parents and cousin died in the house fire that left Ava with burns over 60% of her body. Now, a year later, Ava lives with her aunt and uncle and the committee on her life has decided it's time for her to get back to being a teenager. In other words, it's time for her to return to public school. Scars Like Wings is a book about figuring out what comes next and learning that hard things are better when we do them together. I really loved Ava and Piper's relationship. It was so real and raw. What Ava and Piper are going through is hard, and it's hard to be a good friend when you need a friend most. Erin Stewart delivers a great debut with this book. Out October 2019. Review copy from NetGalley.

The Lake: 
Emma Saylor's mother died when she was ten. Now, at seventeen, Emma is going to stay with her mother's family in North Lake. Here Emma is Saylor, the name her mother always called her, and, as she gets to know her extended family and their friends, she realizes she's been missing a part of herself. Now the question is, can she bring Saylor home with her? The Rest of the Story is such a perfect summer read. I loved the lake and Calvander's little motel. I loved all of Saylor's cousins, and I especially loved Roo. I really like how in Sarah Dessen's hands the two sides of the lake come to symbolize Emma Saylor's two sides, her family, and her past. Out June 2019. Review copy from Edelweiss.

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