by Kristin Dwyer
Published by HarperTeen
Release Date: April 26th, 2022
Genres: Contemporary Romance, YA
Format Read: ARC
You can’t always go home again.
Ellis and Easton have been inseparable since childhood. But when a rash decision throws ellis’s life—and her relationship with Easton— into chaos. She’s forced to move halfway across the country, far from everything she’s ever known.
Now Ellis hasn’t spoken to Easton in a year, and maybe it’s better that way; maybe eventually the Easton shaped hole in her heart will heal, but when Easton’s mother invites her home for a celebration, Ellis finds herself tangled up in the web of heartache, betrayal, and anger she left behind... and with the boy she never stopped loving.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Well, damn. I was not ready for how angsty and angry and heartbreakingly sad this book is.
“I have to be careful because memories are like rain. A harmless drop here and there falling against my mind, then suddenly, I’m standing beneath a flood.”
Unfortunately, I didn’t end up loving SMWM as I hoped. This was one of my most anticipated 2022 debuts. And while it didn’t live up to my expectations, I love how emotionally fueled it was. All the FEELS.
Author Kristin Dwyer has a way with words. And no doubt I will be on the lookout for what she has in store for us next. All the feelings that this debut evoked were so unbelievably real and beautifully honest.
The author perfectly captured the complexities of family- it’s messy and imperfect and never without its own set of drama. I don’t have brothers but I do have two older sisters so I found myself extremely relating to the Albreys. You spend so much of your life with your siblings and you grow to love them unconditionally. But sometimes this also means that you’re just one second away from punching them in the face. I think brothers/sisters are some of the best people to bring out the best and worst in each other.
This book spoke to my teenage heart. There’s the magic of first love, first kiss, first heartbreak… the first everything. I had so many feelings of nostalgia. This book will remind you of what it felt like to be young. The reckless passion and impulsiveness that comes with it. As well as the feeling of invincibility.
“But I love you was light. Like a feather. Like a breeze. Like being set free.”
I live for the lovely and tender moments between Ellis and Easton. And I love, love, love the swoon! I had so many FEELINGS. I was crying by the end. (See: Ellis’ letter and Dixon’s birthday speech)
“I hope we can all take the love we have learned from you and share it with others in those ways that aren’t spoken.”
No doubt, heart is what this debut has in spades.
So what didn’t I like, you ask?
I had a bit of a rocky start with SMWM. I found the writing style to be a bit… disjointed. I needed to get used to it and Ellis’ voice. And I really wasn’t a fan of the ‘Before’ chapters. I disliked Ellis, especially in the beginning. She was just so… angry and bitter. She came across as selfish at times and uncaring. I did come to like her eventually. The further I read, I realized there’s a lot to love about her too. And it’s hard not to feel for her. She hasn’t had the easiest childhood and you can see how she struggles with feeling lost and torn about feeling of belonging. She desperately wants a place to belong and people to belong with. She only had to realize she already has both. She needed to open herself up to it and realize that she’s more than enough and is deserving of love.
Did I mention this book is angry? It seemed a lot like Easton has unacknowledged, unresolved anger issues. And you know what, I think Tucker has it too.
The end was sweet and heartwarming if a bit rushed and unbelievable. (Or maybe that’s just me?)
This is the kind of book you should be in a certain mood to read. It’s sad. With lots of drama, so much teenage angst, full of anger and sadness and pain.
Lastly, so much of the conflict in this book could have been resolved with a reasonable, calm conversation. There was so much misunderstanding and miscommunication- it was frustrating! Also, the reason why Ellis was sent away took too long to be revealed. And by then I almost didn’t care. It never felt to me like Ellis owned her actions. She was too busy blaming everyone else. Mrs. I-forgot-her-first-name Albrey didn’t deserve her anger.
“One day you will understand that home isn’t walls and a roof, it’s a feeling that you get. And you get to pick who lives there.”
Trigger warnings: substance abuse, abandonment, sexual content (not explicit)
Hi! I’m Diana, and I’m a Filipina bibliophile. I have a Bachelor’s that has nothing to do with reading, blogging or fangirling. People always assume I’m way younger than I actually am and I never really know whether to take that as a compliment or not?! Great to meet y’all!