Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Review + Excerpt: Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally (Blog Tour Stop)

Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #3
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
First published: March 1st, 2013
Source: NetGalley
Format: eARC
Pages: 304
Goodreads Summary:
Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…

This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt…with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…

My Rating: 3.5 / 5

First thoughts:
As the third companion novel in one of my favorite series, Things I Can't Forget turned out to be a great addition even though it didn't completely meet my expectations. Its very prominent religious undertones made it a little bit hard for me to identify with the characters. Nonetheless it was just as addicting as the previous installments and I can't wait for the next book.

More detailed:

... the plot:
Having just finished High School, Kate Kelly gets a summer job as a camp counselor before starting college. After her best friend had an abortion and Kate actually helped her to do so, this summer doesn't turn out the way she wanted it to. Facing her guilt and loneliness, Kate has to figure out some things about how she wants to live her life and whether she can respect other attitudes than her own. The experiences she makes during the seven weeks of camp are very diverse and change her attitude toward a lot of things.

... the characters:
Like I already mentioned above, I had a hard time connecting to Kate. Her love for her religion and God can be all-consuming at times and makes it hard to believe that she could ever feel equally intense for anything else. Luckily she proves otherwise, which makes her a more relatable character for me. Nonetheless I was confused by her changing attitude at times as certain things happened slightly too fast and unexpected.

Apart from Kate, we get to meet a couple new characters and some of my old favorites - Parker and Will, Jordan and Sam. These reappearances of former main characters never fail to make me happy and give us a great idea of what happened after their "ending." But I was just as content meeting new characters, especially Kate's love interest who is a wonderful, heart-warming guy, whom you'll probably love just as much as I did. There are also quite a few other secondary characters who add dimension to the story, but usually don't play an important part - except maybe Emily, Kate's best friend, whom I'd have loved to see more often.

... everything:
All in all, Things I Can't Forget is a great addition to this wonderful series of companion novels. My lack of connection to Kate is solely based on my dislike of too religious novels, which I usually try to avoid. But luckily I enjoyed it nonetheless and am very happy to have read this story. Can't wait to get my greedy little hands on the fourth installment!


 This review is part of Things I Can't Forget's blog tour,
hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.



EXCERPT
Girls like me do not buy pregnancy tests.

I drag my pencil down the paper, drawing tears rolling from her eyes.
 Girls like me sing in the church choir. Every spring break, I go on mission trips to Honduras, where we renovate houses for the underprivileged. I do all my homework every night, and before I go to bed, I kiss Daddy’s cheek and tell him I wish he’d go to the doctor about his blood pressure and start getting more exercise than walking Fritz and scooping his poop.
I’ve only kissed one boy my entire life.
Emily called that day, crying. “Kate,” she said between sobs. “You can’t tell anyone. Not even your mom.”
I drove to Walmart two towns away, over in Green Hills, so no one would see me buying the test. I trembled as I carried the box to the self-checkout lane. I scanned, bagged and paid, and bit back tears, because my best friend of fifteen years—since we were three years old—might have accidentally gotten pregnant by her long-time boyfriend.
I didn’t even know they had had sex. It’s not something they would tell. If anyone found out that Jacob, son of Brother Michael—our preacher at church—got a girl pregnant out of wedlock? Chaos.
It wouldn’t look good for Emily either. She’s like me. Always wears clean T-shirts and none of her jeans have holes or loose strings. She would never even think about smoking a cigarette. She doesn’t go over the speed limit. She plays the violin and has a scholarship lined up to attend Belmont University in Nashville.
But Emily made a mistake.
I use my black coloring pencil to shade her hair. My red pencil fills in her lips, turned upside down in a frown.
And then I made an even bigger mistake: I helped her.

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