Review – The Year After You

“This time round, despite what will inevitably come after, I will be honest. It’s the only hope I have.”

– Nina De Pass, The Year After You

I requested this book from Net Galley to review, it was one of my very first advance reader copies, the cover art alone peaked my interest. Then I read the synopsis and thought it would be a interesting and easy read.

THIS BOOK HAS SHAKEN ME TO THE CORE!

I have taken a week to gather my thoughts since finishing it and will try and explain them as coherently as possible.

Before I begin, I’d just like to say that this review contains thoughts and opinions that may spoil the plot. There are topics covered in this story that may be triggering to you such as: PTSD, grief, suicide and survivors guilt.

As a preface to the main story, the main character Cara survives a horrific car accident on New Years Eve, but her best friend Georgina does not.

The story begins nine months after the accident, Cara is struggling, she is consumed by guilt and grief. Her mum has sent her to a Swiss boarding school in the hopes that it will be a fresh start.

As a main character Cara immediately struck me as someone that had given up on trying. She had a careless and closed off attitude to those around her, the way she is written drew me in to the story quite easily. Pretty much straight away I was caught up with how realistic she was as a teenage girl. Her refusal to open up to the people closest to her frustrated me, when she felt helpless I felt helpless along with her, the survivor’s guilt and depression she suffered from through the entire book ate away at me until I was sitting on the edge of the bed crying with her.

For the most part the side characters felt well developed, Hector was realistic and his experiences and feelings felt as raw as if I had been through them myself. In the beginning I thought he was going to be the generic ‘bad boy’ that puts Cara in bad situations, but it was really great to see his personality and back story be fleshed out as well as it was.

I would have loved to see the book follow Ren and Fred’s story a little closer. As it went on they were kind of lost in the unravelling of Cara’s secrets.

“Nobody is broken. I am amazed.”

– Nina De Pass, The Year After You

Cara’s story is one of regret, grief, guilt and loneliness. She holds all of her feelings in, and tries as hard as she can to shield herself from those that may hurt her, but also to shield those around her from how she thinks she will hurt them. Her feelings are so real it physically hurt me to read parts of this book, I felt as though my heart was being ripped apart along with her. I felt her anxiety and fear, and I walked with her as she healed. The contents of this book left me soaking in these feelings for many days after I’d already put the book down.

“I pick up the remote and switch the TV on, in need of a distraction while I re-cage the little bird inside me that’s trying to unfurl its wings.”

– Nina De Pass, The Year After You

The Year After You is the first novel written by Nina De Pass, which is very exciting because the writing in this book is exquisite. With the simplicity of a young adult novel, mixed with a lyrical almost poetic touch is just beautiful to read. I found so many heart wrenching quotes in this book that I will carry with me for life.

This book ticked all of my boxes, easy to read, had me laughing, crying, internally screaming at, and empathising with the characters. It explored some difficult topics, and showcased beautifully how hard it is to be forced to endure the cruel things the world can dish out to you. I found the writing well developed, and it exceeded my expectations.

Nina De Pass has written a book that felt like it was set up to be a little like a St. Trinian’s movie (google it if you don’t know), but morphed into something so much more than just a simple coming of age story.

For these reasons, I rated this book a solid and well deserved 5 out of 5 stars. Would most definitely recommend.


– HAPPY READING! –

 

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