I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book from Simon Schuster, Alyson Derrick Colored Pages Blog Tours. This has not impacted my rating and this review is voluntary.
- Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
- Published by: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, Simon Teens
- Publish date: April 4, 2023
- Number of pages: pages
- Author’s Instagram: whoisalysonanyway
- Support local! Buy the book on BookShop!
Perfect for fans of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Five Feet Apart, this tender solo debut by the coauthor of New York Times bestseller She Gets the Girl is a romantic ode to the strength of love and the power of choosing each other, against odds and obstacles, again and again.
What would you do if you forgot the love of your life ever even existed?
Stevie and Nora had a love. A secret, epic, once-in-a-lifetime kind of love. They also had a plan: to leave their small, ultra-conservative town and families behind after graduation and move to California, where they could finally stop hiding that love.
But then Stevie has a terrible fall. And when she comes to, she can remember nothing of the last two years—not California, not coming to terms with her sexuality, not even Nora. Suddenly, Stevie finds herself in a life she doesn’t quite understand, one where she’s estranged from her parents, drifting away from her friends, lying about the hours she works, dating a boy she can’t remember crushing on, and headed towards a future that isn’t at all what her fifteen-year-old self would have envisioned.
And Nora finds herself…forgotten. Can the two beat the odds a second time and find their way back together when “together” itself is just a lost memory?
This was such an interesting read and I loved the premise! The characters were well-developed and their actions matched their thought processes. I thought this was refreshing for a YA novel because while the characters are still learning emotional maturity, they felt realistic. For example, the main character, Stevie, and her girlfriend, Nora, make choices that are impacted both by their situation, their upbringing in Wyatt–a small conservative town with close-minded parents, and their own desires. The complexity of those conflicting thoughts makes it easy to empathize with them. You also have the side characters: Ryan, the only other Asian in Wyatt, Stevie’s parents, and Stevie’s friends from high school. All the characters have their own issues they are dealing with and we see how their thoughts and actions impact Stevie, which again mimics real life. You don’t have pure villains (well Stevie’s friends push that limit); instead, you have characters that have some learning to do themselves or they get left behind.
What kept me invested and led to me finishing this book so quickly is that the love story is just cute AF. With communications between letters and flashbacks to the time before Stevie’s accident, you really see how Nora and Stevie’s love came to be, so much so that you can’t help but be certain that it will all work out in the end. You believe in them and are rooting for them. I hadn’t felt this invested in fictional characters in a long time! Lastly, I can’t end this review without adding how well Alyson Derrick did at discussing the hate that young Asian Americans and lesbians may face both separately and through an intersectional lens. From macroaggressions to microaggressions that Stevie, Nora, and Ryan encounter, we go through the journey of how the thought of staying in a place where you feel like you’re on your own to battle these things is impossible.
Thanks for the free book! @whoisalysonanyway @simonteen and @coloredpagesblogtours on Instagram!
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to know!