Thursday, November 6, 2014

Review: Things I Can't Forget

Things I Can't Forget
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Published: March 1st, 2013
Paperback, 308 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school - although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different...

This summer she's a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He's the first guy she ever kissed, and he's gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt - with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn't that easy...

Kate is not the kind of character you see in a book very often and it was great seeing someone so into their faith have the spotlight in a book. Religion is not something authors feel comfortable discussing anymore, as there is so much speculation that surrounds it. But I'm glad Kenneally was brave enough to make Kate very religious and not hold that against her. Kate struggles with a lot of things that I struggled with as a teen and i'm sure most others did too. She's not ready to go past kissing, even though everyone around her is, and nor is she comfortable sleeping in the same room as a member of the opposite sex even though everyone else is doing it. Her beliefs are a lot stronger than mine, but reading about her struggles to stay strong and keep her values in a world where peer pressure can turn anyone.

Working at a Christian camp is just what Kate wants to do the summer before college. She's excited to be around like minded people but she soon realizes that not everyone has the same morals as her. The counselors are shacking up together, hanging out alone at night and doing things Kate wouldn't dream of doing, that is, until she sees Matt. Matt was her first kiss when they were eleven and he's changed a lot for the better since then. Now he is very good looking and likes to flirt with Kate. He makes her feel something she's never felt and it scares her. The more they hang out, the more Kate wants to go further than she ever thought she would before marriage and both scares and excites her. Suddenly the summer becomes more than just money for school, it becomes about finding out who she really is and how her relationship with God may change.

Kenneally's books have all had a religious connection in them and I love that about them. They stand out from the rest of the YA Contemporary out there and I'm glad that her characters have beliefs. Kate is judged right away for her old-fashioned beliefs, but Matt never judges her. The romance between them is wonderful and slow, but there are moments where Kate wants to feel more than what she's feeling, just like any girl in love. Kenneally captured the fear between your beliefs and what your body is telling you as Kate goes through so many feelings and moments, until she finally decides who she really is. Matt is certainly swoon-worthy and I fell in love with him as easily as Kate did. Kenneally has a way with her characters, making me love the girl and the guy and the relationship I can only hope comes between them. It was great seeing some old characters, something that I now look for when reading these books. Having Jordan and Parker be there for Kate as she goes through this crazy time was really nice and I love seeing girl friendships in books. For some reason, this is hard to find even though most of my friends were girls in high school. One of the most important parts of this book was that when Kate changed her mind about how far she wanted to go with Matt, he completely respected her decision and did not pressure her into anything. Sadly, this too is hard to find and I'm glad it was very prominent in this book.

Kenneally's books capture the essence of teenage life. Facing hard decisions, figuring out who we are. Falling in love. This series is the perfect go to for any lover of Stephanie Perkins or Kasie West.

"Maybe all that matters is that he's right for me, and I'm right for him."

"Learning is never a bad thing. And neither is changing your mind about things... It's always good to reevaluate. To think and consider all sides."

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