home           about           reviews           author insight           review policy

Monday, April 22, 2013

Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally

Release Date: March 1, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: E-book
Source: Purchased
Series: Hundred Oaks #3
Pages: 320
Buy: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / IndieBound
Description: Goodreads
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…

It took approximately 17 pages for me to put down Miranda Kenneally’s third book Things I Can’t Forget and take to the Twitter to rave about it.  Miranda just gets me.  She writes about girls and situations that I can relate to so easily without having to relate to it completely.  It’s like she somehow met Teenage Jessica and wrote about her, only her versions are more interesting and the girls play sports instead of the clarinet.

This time, our Hundred Oaks High protagonist is Kate Kelly.  She’s an exceedingly strict and devout Christian, and she’s a member of the Forrest Sanctuary Church (previously seen in last year’s StealingParker).  However, when her best friend Emily asks for her help to get an abortion, Kate begins to fall apart with guilt and shame.  She sinned when she took her friend to the clinic that day, and she really needs Emily to pray with her and ask forgiveness for what they did, the thing she can’t forget.  Hopefully, you can see why that’s a bit problematic.  Their strained relationship forces Kate to be a counselor on her own at Cumberland Creek Camp, where her fellow counselors and campers show her that not everything in life is so clear cut.

My girl Miranda writes some fabulously flawed and compelling female characters.  Jordan, Parker, and Kate are nothing alike, except for the fact that they are incredibly real.  It’s been a challenge for me to write this review (though I clearly enjoyed the novel), because Kate’s story hit me in a very personal and true way.  Kate is a difficult character to love.  She says so many things that smack of self-righteous judgment, and yet, every time I felt close to disliking her, I heard her words in my own teenage voice.  Granted, I was younger than Kate when I was at my most self-righteous, but it sure sounded like the ghost of Jessica Past.  I read this book with the perfect vision of hindsight, and I found myself wishing that I could hop in the TARDIS (with Ten and Rose, obviously) and put this in Teenage Jessica’s hands.

The most important aspect of Kate’s personality, to me, is that she actually and actively listens to those around her, and she truly puts thought into her decisions.  She isn’t just going along with the crowd to fit in.  Kate chose a hard path for herself, and it’s beyond commendable to see her stick to her guns, especially in the face of a grade A hottie like Matt.  Oh me oh my.  Miniature Poodle Matt Brown.  Teenage Jessica would’ve loved him too, with his guitar playing and no-shoe-wearing and easygoing awesomeness.  Miranda knows how to bring the hotties too, which you’ll already know if you’ve read her other two books.  Speaking of, all your favorite Hundred Oaks characters come out to play.  Who wouldn’t love more time with Parker and Corndog?

Things I Can’t Forget is sweet and painful, honest and thoughtful, hilarious and heart-breaking.  I know I’ll recommend this book again and again.  It’s the perfect read for Jessicas Past, Present, and Future.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this book so much. Kate was a very real person to me and the things she struggled with were tings that I think everyone has struggled with. I'm with you - I love recommending this book to others :)