The Year We Fell Apart
by Emily Martin
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: January 26th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
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.
I want to start this review by congratulating Emily Martin on a stellar debut novel. The Year We Fell Apart is superbly written. With depth heart and soul, this is a true representation of the complication and confusion that comes along with being a teenager. In a story that follows the difficulty and the very often, painful emotions that can alienate and torment us in our teenage years; Martin writes of a young teenager desperate to find her light in the overwhelming darkness.
Told from the perspective of Harper Sloan, readers witness a young woman struggling with her emotions, her actions and inevitably, the consequences. Finding out that her mother has just been diagnosed with breast cancer and that her ex boyfriend/best friend, Declan has returned to town, Harper indulges in parties and alcohol to numb her feelings. With a battle between her head and her heart consuming her, Harper is torn as to whether or not she should address the tension between her and Declan.
As each page gives you clear insight into the troubled, pained and confused mind of Harper, readers are taken on a tumultuous journey filled with pain, regrets and repeated attempts at redemption. Emily Martin has highlighted the hardships of being a teenager and through an uncertain, heartbroken and unknowingly selfish main character, Martin has flawlessly captured the essence of young adulthood. And through an extensive range of secondary characters themes of love, hate, loyalty, betrayal and forgiveness are profoundly explored.
The Year We Fell Apart will open old wounds, remind readers of how hard being a young adult really was. First Love. First Kiss. First Heartbreak. Even though, the darkness, heaviness and negativity is very much at the forefront of this book, I believe Emily Martin’s writing allows for maximum empathy from all readers and especially young adults today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Emily Martin lives and writes in the Greater Boston area, though she will always call Michigan home. She has a penchant for impromptu dance parties, vintage clothing, and traveling to new places. When not writing, she can be found hiking New England’s peaks, searching for the perfect cup of hot chocolate, or baking something pumpkin-flavored.
Emily’s debut young adult novel, THE YEAR WE FELL APART, comes out January 26, 2016 from Simon Pulse.
Her work is represented by Lara Perkins of Andrea Brown Literary.