Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan. Now, after two semesters of silence, Declan is home from boarding school for the summer. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger…more handsome. Harper has changed, too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.
While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, and the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on. But he’s also the one person she’s lost the right to seek comfort from. As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.
As far as stories go, The Year We Fell Apart comes off as simplistic – two best friends driven apart by distance, now back together for a summer in which they are denying their feelings because of a bad break-up. I really wasn’t expecting much, other than angst, when going in this book, and I was pleasantly surprised when this book made me…feel emotions. Okay, I know that makes me sound like some emotionless robot, but I seldom let myself cry while reading. However, I was feeling things right along side Harper when looking through her eyes.
For the story, I still maintain it is pretty straight-forward. There is the unnecessary subplot of her mom’s cancer which doesn’t really serve much for the plot. It doesn’t affect the main plotline – of her making a string of mistakes, letting people assume what they want and then being a doormat about it. No, really, Harper hardly tries to defend herself because she is mostly accepted her guilt, making it a cornerstone of her personality and letting that define her actions. She is a flawed protagonist, and the right way comes difficult for hers. The angst all belongs to Declan – who she hurt and who she wants to become friends with again, and who ends up hurting her. It’s quite ironic that when she actually wanted him to believe her innocence, he didn’t and she calls him out on it. But enough about them – I loved the positive ideals of friendship sprinkled throughout the book, including Mackenzie and Gwen being such good pals to her, Cory being her staunchest supporter and Declan until a certain point. The ending was good, but I wished she had been more proactive about the bullies, not just let someone else ‘defend her honor’. Well, a book can’t always be perfect, and this one was pretty good enough for a quick afternoon read. A fine example of where execution of a storyline is more important than the plot.
Received a free galley from Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.