Monday, January 25, 2016

Review: The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin

The Year We Fell Apart by Emily MartinThey Year We Fell Apart
by Emily Martin
January 26, 2016
320 pages
Goodreads Summary:
In the tradition of Sarah Dessen, this powerful debut novel is a compelling portrait of a young girl coping with her mother’s cancer as she figures out how to learn from—and fix—her past.

Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.

Now, after two semesters of silence, Declan is home from boarding school for the summer. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger…more handsome. Harper has changed, too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.

While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, and the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on. But he’s also the one person she’s lost the right to seek comfort from.

As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.

In this honest and affecting tale of friendship and first love, Emily Martin brings to vivid life the trials and struggles of high school and the ability to learn from past mistakes over the course of one steamy North Carolina summer.

The Year We Fell Apart is a very in-the-now type of book. It's about one girl's journey to opening up and accepting the changes around her and the mistakes she's made. I had some problems with the main character's actions but in the end I did enjoy the book.

Harper Sloan is the focus of the story. Right off the bat we know that she's made some questionable choices. She pushed her best friend/ex-boyfriend away and set herself lose. Her life became a mess due to various reasons. Instead of dealing, Harper chose to ignore her problems, resorting to guys, alcohol and such as distractions. Throughout the story, she continues to make bad decisions. It was painful watching her drown herself in self-deprecation. How could she not see that those distractions were only temporary. Her behaviour was doing more harm to herself and the people she loves than helping her cope. So maddening yet in my logical brain, I rationalized it. This was part of the process Harper needed to go through to face her fears. She was forced to re-evaluate herself and her actions when things hit a breaking point. It couldn't have come sooner. Honestly at one point in the book I had an urge to chuck it on the floor. I was  fed up with Harper's poor choices. That was, until she owned up to her actions. I could hug her for that! She was ashamed of her bad choices but she never lied. Despite not having a good handle on her life, Harper rebounds with honesty and that redeemed her for me.

I adored Harper and Declan's friendship. They knew each other so well. But it's also that same familiarity that put a strain in their relationship. Harper was too afraid of losing Declan so she decided to cut him loose first. Old guilt resurfaces and feelings once again become complicated when Declan returns to town. The eventual blow up was kind of awesome. They both just really needed to talk things out- air all their suppressed feelings and pant-up emotions. The ending felt a little weak but I do get the feeling that things just might be all right now.

Cory, Mackenzie and Gwen were absolutely lovey friends. In fact, they were Amazing. Supportive. Hilarious. So my question is, why was Harper friends with Sadie? That girl was clearly toxic and good for nothing. She was downright b*tchy and pretty much fueled Harper's downward spiral. Really, she did nothing for Harper.

My favourite character is Harper's mom. She has cancer. Yes it's really sad but unlike Harper who seemed to be using it to cause more drama, her mom doesn't let the sickness bring her down. Harper's mom is a fighter and it showed. "...sometimes happiness is a choice. The cancer and the chemo are out of my hands, but I choose to have a life outside treatment..." (ARC, p. 297).

So I know it sounds like I didn't like the book but I really did. It took time for me to warm up to the main character but I liked her for her honesty and because she's real. The story was profound in a way that we all make mistakes but it's how we own up and accept them that's important.

3.5 Cats
*I received an eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinion are my own and not affected in any way. All quotes were taken from the Advance Review Copy I received.


  1. This book is still in the 'maybe' category in my TBR list. I'm just not sure if I'll like it so I still haven't decided.

    1. I'd say if you're in a mood for a second chance novel then read it :)

  2. Glad you did like this despite some flaws. ;)

    1. They're human flaws so I try to be understanding XD

  3. Sometimes flawed characters can be so hard to like and relate to... but they're very necessary because we don't always make the best choices!
    Great review Eileen!

  4. I've been reading mixed reviews about this one, but I still want to read it a lot!
    Great review!

  5. I can totally understand how and why you'd have issues with the main character. But sometimes, it isn't about the character as much as it is about the story, and looks like that truly applies here. Nice review, Eileen!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

    1. Well-said Sarika! I couldn't agree more and thank you :)


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