By Jennifer Shaw Wolf
Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship.
When the police reopen the investigation, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free? Debut writer Jennifer Shaw Wolf takes readers on an emotional ride through the murky waters of love, shame, and, ultimately, forgiveness.
This Blonde’s Review:
Trip is dead, but Allie can’t remember what happened. She doesn’t want to. All she wants to do is hide from her pain, her memories, and the truth of how Trip’s death makes her feel. She can’t accept the help her brother and childhood friend have to offer. As she slowly starts to return to the world she finds life isn’t any better than she thought it would be. She is still whispered about and speculated over. Her every move is given more weight than it deserves. People suspect her of awful things and hold Trip up as a shining light. Except they didn’t know Trip like she did.
Allie is a hard character to get to know. She doesn’t want to face her past or accept that she could have a future, which makes her hard to know or understand. Lucky for her she has a devoted twin brother, Andrew, who would do anything for her. He may be in a wheelchair and may not be able to speak well, but he’s there for her in ways no one else is able to be. Even when she turns away, he’s still there. She also has Blake, her childhood best friend. Blake knows he’s undesirable and is willing to support Allie even if she is unwilling to acknowledge their friendship. He wants more from her than mere friendship, but he loves her enough to accept what she’ll give him.
Blake and Andrew were my favorite characters. I loved their strength and how much they loved Allie. Allie was damaged and unwilling to face herself, and they were the rocks she could lean on. I loved that Andrew wasn’t a typical brother. His disabilities made everything he was willing to do for her count so much more. I also loved that the author was willing to educate her readers as well as show us that even if he doesn’t seem normal, Andrew was still a normal boy who wanted to care for his sister and find someone to love. Blake was a wonderful combination of strong and sensitive. He didn’t always respond well, but he did all he could. Watching him do what he could to help Allie rejoin the world and becoming caught up in the joy himself was heartwarming.
Watching Allie’s attempts not to remember the night Trip died was heartbreaking. She couldn’t come clean about how Trip treated her, not expecting anyone to believe her. The people who saw it never said anything. When someone starts leaving her notes in his handwriting Allie doesn’t know what to think. Trip’s body wasn’t found, but she tells herself it can’t really be him. As she remembers more of what happened she has to wonder if everyone is right about her guilt. Did she do something? Or did Blake?
This book was heartbreaking. It was hard to understand why Allie put up with Trip, since we didn’t get to see her figure it out for herself. Watching her remember how to stand up for herself and know what she needs in her life was fabulous though. The way things went down was both awful and wonderful. I loved that it wasn’t quite what anyone expected. We could see it and be suspicious over it, but there were plenty of reasons to be uncertain over which outcome it would be. I don’t want to give too much away, but I thought it was perfect.
If you’d like to read about a broken girl who is putting herself back together, even if she doesn’t want to, then you’ll enjoy reading Allie’s story.