My Rating ~ Four stars
DUE TO BE RELEASED: 26 June 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Received from Harlequin Australia in exchange for an honest review
Available for pre-order here:
Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems a small thing, just for her.
Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is…
Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get.
Now Beth has a choice to make—follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart…again.
Many thanks to Harlequin and HarlequinTeen Australia for providing me with an ARC of this book to review.
Beth’s sister was killed when a car struck her three years ago. Beth’s family hasn’t been the same since and her parents’ crippling fear of something happening to their surviving daughter, has toppled over into extreme overprotectiveness. Her senior year should be filled with fun, but instead she feels like a prisoner in her own home. In an attempt to rebel, and push back against her parents, on her last day before the new school year, she sneaks out to a party where she meets Chase. It isn’t until the next day at school that she realises Chase, the boy she has just shared an intensely intimate moment with, is the boy who was driving the car that killed her sister.
Beth knows she should hate Chase, but she doesn’t think that’s how she really feels inside. What she does know is that if anyone else knew what she had shared with him, they would hate her. While trying to navigate her own conflicted feelings about being attracted to the one person she shouldn’t be, she has nowhere to turn for support, except Chase. Chase is horrified when he realises who Beth actually is and knows he should stay far far away from her. But with Beth determined to communicate with him, and the way he feels, that proves harder to do than he thought.
One Small Thing dealt with some heavy topics in a really great way. It dealt with the uncomfortable side of grief, the one no-one wants to talk about – the guilt that stems from the question ‘what happens when you don’t feel the way everyone thinks you should feel?’ Does that make you a bad person? Is there something wrong with you? These types of feelings are difficult enough for an adult to sort through, and can be insurmountable for a teenager. It also explored what happens to a family when they are faced with a sudden tragedy and the many different ways people deal with grief. The way people often romanticise someone after they’ve died and what family members do when they are faced with feeling like they’ve lost control. Neither Beth or her parents could understand each other’s coping mechanisms and that made for a situation that was tearing their fractured family apart.
While this dark cloud is hanging over Beth, she still also has to deal with every day school life – including sometimes difficult friendships and decisions on what the right thing is to do when you witness bullying. While the parts of the story that felt like they should have been the ‘big reveals’ were a little predictable, I still really enjoyed them and had strong feelings about most of the characters in the book. I hated Jeff, Beth’s sisters ex-boyfriend, from the start and her parents left me incredulous with their actions (even though I could see they came from a place of such pain). I felt such frustration on Beth’s behalf, that made me want to scream at all the people who simply would not listen to her. The teachers, classmates and friends who had already decided how she obviously must feel and never bothered to check whether they were right. And of course, I felt overwhelming sadness for both Beth and Chase.
I love thought provoking books and on a personal level, I have been affected by something very similar when my cousin was killed in a car accident. I watched my own extended family first pull together, then fracture, and finally piece back together again. I have to say that this book made me think about the driver of the car in that situation. I’ve felt nothing but hatred for her for 21 years, but while reading One Small Thing I started to imagine what life might have been like for her after that accident, no matter what sort of face she put on to cope.
One Small Thing will be available for purchase on 26 June 2018 and it’s definitely worth a read!
Photo via my Instagram account – Bookbookowl