Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date: February 18, 2014
Publisher: MTV Books
Page Count: 368
Format: Digital ARC
Goodreads Synopsis: Laura Wiess captures the visceral emotion of a girl’s journey from innocence to devastating loss and, ultimately, to a strange and unexpected kind of understanding--in this beautiful and painfully honest new novel.
Are there any answers when someone you love makes a tragic choice?
Before and After. That's how Rowan Areno sees her life now. Before: she was a normal sixteen-year-old--a little too sheltered by her police officer father and her mother. After: everything she once believed has been destroyed in the wake of a shattering tragedy, and every day is there to be survived.
If she had known, on that Friday in March when she cut school, that a random stranger's shocking crime would have traumatic consequences, she never would have left campus. If the crime video never went viral, maybe she could have saved her mother, grandmother--and herself--from the endless replay of heartache and grief.
Finding a soul mate in Eli, a witness to the crime who is haunted by losses of his own, Rowan begins to see there is no simple, straightforward path to healing wounded hearts. Can she learn to trust, hope, and believe in happiness again?
*I recieved this book as a digital ARC for review purposes which does not in the slightest affect my honest opinion of the book*
My Initial Thoughts: You know those kinds of books that you feel like can't be given a rating? Well this is that kind of book. Most of the time, even if the plot was great or stunk, I will rate a book by the way it made me feel. Whether that was anger, or sadness, happiness or laughter. Because this book was almost a DNF for me, I expected to rate it a 2 or 3 stars, but on Goodreads I put 4 because of the rush of emotion I felt after I finished it. There are so many aspects I have mixed feelings about, in the plot, characters, and feels that could tip teh scale on books like these. All I can tell you is prepare to be on a wild roller coaster of feels.
Characters 9.25/10: Each character in Me Since You is real. They are well-developed and have plenty of flaws. They can be compassionate, terrified, selfish, angry, and everything else that comes with being a human. While you may look at me and say, "Isn't that how it's supposed to be?" I will respond to you and say that a lot of times these contemporary novels can take a turn for the worst and end up like one of those award winning books written by pyschologists that talk about how to deal with grief and loss. The best way to say it (however cliche) is that they're raw. They're put out on display for reader's to see and to judge.
Romance 6.75/10: I personally live Eli and Rowan as a couple. The two of them have a lot in common in terms of situation, and they both understand each other. My only complaint is that because of what happened to Rowan's dad, her relationship with Eli was put on hold, and became more of a support one rather than a romantic one.
Originality 6/10: The plot certainly isn't normal. How many times have you read about a police officer being blamed for killing a man and his child when they actually committed suicide? What wasn't the most creative was the character's reactions. Without spoiling it, I'm going to say that Rowan's dad reacted in a way that would have been expected. The characters are stricken with grief, and it's about their journeys into their new lives. Even though it would be somewhat expected, Wiess pulls it off in a way that doesn't make you roll your eyes and say, "Been there, done that."
Title 9/10: My first impression of the title was that it was nothing special. What I gradually picked up from it was how all-encompassing of the entire story it was without saying, "Girl whose life was changed forever when..." Wiess especially stresses the ripple effect, coincidences, and God's will. There's a point in the story where all the characters blame themselves for what happens to Rowan's dad, and endless "What ifs"
What if I hadn't called the police?
What if I hadn't ditched school?
What if I had tried harder?
What if I had noticed more?
Rowan since her Dad ~ Rowan's Dad since Corey jumped ~ Eli since his Dad ~ Rowan's mother since her husband.
Feels 7.5/10: Something I haven't previously mentioned on my blog before is that my mom is currently fighting esophageal cancer. She's been doing remarkably well, but at the same time, it is quite a ferocious, aggressive disease. The question of "What if?" and "When happens when?" is one that has loomed over me since her diagnosis. Rowan's emotions and reactions, while seemingly ridiculous to an outsider, are raw and plainly spread out for everyone to see. Her grief was a question for me. "Would I do that if my own mother....?" Knock on wood for me, but the feelings that Rowan evoked in me were very powerful. Her grief was all-consuming for months and not even her best friend or boyfriend could wake her up from the nightmare of reality. After the funeral, and initial shock of everything, life went on for the rest of the world, but Rowan was left alone and her life was never the same. My point is that this book did not make me feel like telling everyone I know about them. Me Since You painted a beautiful, and artful picture of what it is like to lose a loved one. Laura Wiess did what every writer wants to do- Make the reader feel as if they are experiencing the same tragedy.
Pacing 5/10: I have to be honest....this was going to be a DNF. The first third of the story was just meh to me. Despite the intense plot, I wasn't really feeling much of anything. It was like one of those moments when your parent asks you something and you respond, "So? What? I don't care." That's how I felt at that point in the book. I was actually extremely bored in a museum when I picked up Me Since You again, and the cliche response that's true for me is, "I was very glad I did." The story literally picked up 2% later than the point where I wanted to drop it. From there on, everything was smooth sailing until around the 70% area where 'action' so to speak (in the contemporary novel sense) where the story started to slow. It was similar to the final invisible stages of metamorphosis or the momentum left over after a runner crosses the finish line. Anyway, my main critique is that for me personally, the pacing could have been a lot more evenly spread.
That's the simplest and most concise way to express my feelings about the ending. In books, there's always the slight possibility of a sequel, and a characters story continuing on. Most of the time with contemporary novels such as these, you don't want them to continue. These standalone novels are like little time capsules that capture a certain portion or segment in a character's life that the author retells.
Conclusion: This is a beautifullly written contemporary novel about dealing with grief, the loss of a loved one, and the person you are after the storm with relatable, raw characters and one hec of a plot.