Author: Rebecca Serle
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Simon Pulse (March 18, 2014)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Contemporary
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
Growing up in privileged, Manhattan social circles, Caggie’s life should be perfect, and it almost was until the day that her younger sister drowned when Caggie was supposed to be watching her. Stricken by grief, Caggie pulls away from her friends and family, only to have everyone misinterpret a crucial moment when she supposedly saves a fellow classmate from suicide. Now she’s famous for something she didn’t do and everyone lauds her as a hero. But inside she still blames herself for the death of her sister and continues to pull away from everything in her life, best friend and perfect boyfriend included. Then Caggie meets Astor, the new boy at school, about whom rumours are swirling and known facts are few. In Astor she finds someone who just might understand her pain, because he has an inner pain of his own. But the more Caggie pulls away from her former life to be with Astor, the more she realises that his pain might be darker, and deeper, than anything she’s ever felt. His pain might be enough to end his life…and Caggie’s as well.
For some reason I am typically drawn into books that are all about coming into your own. I have no idea why really other than I just love all the 'first". First love, a first kiss, a first heartbreak, challenges, lessons, loss, all of it. There is just something so...well I was going to say magical but I am not quite sure even that adjective is the right one.
There is just something alluring about it so it was no wonder that when I saw the premises of this and that crazy fun cover, I couldn't resist picking it up and seeing what it was all about.
This was sadder, heavier than I thought it would be.
Caggie is very much a damaged guilt ridden sorrowful girl and her story, her anguish was pretty darn heartbreaking and something that I hope most people never have to go through. Losing someone you love and being blamed (or at least feeling that way) for their death is just tragic and horrible and so so wrong. I felt her pain, her heartache and her guilt for something that can only be deemed a horrible tragic accident.
What happened afterwards was just as sad as the incident itself.
Caggie goes through a lot. Her experiences a lot. She contemplates a lot and most importantly she learns a lot.
I have always said that I am all about the growth in characters and this book is all about growing and learning and grieving and forgiving and loving.
Caggie does grow and she makes some pretty sad and awful mistakes along the way, some that almost change her life forever and some she never would have been able to come back from but overall I think this was a very realistic, very real look at death and what it means to some, especially in the case of Cassie and her sister.
Death is never easy, it is never pretty and it is never something that doesn't touch us all at some point in time.
I really liked what the author did with the tough subject matter, how she handled it, how Cassie grew and how it all felt very much like something I could really see and feel and fathom.
I think this was very well done and I commend the author on her efforts to make this as realistic as possible with still giving the reader an ending that was satisfying.
*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*