Wednesday, April 08, 2015
Review: We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt
Author: Dana Reinhardt
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Publication Date: May, 2014
Genre: Teen / Young Adult
Description: Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.
When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellayla. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They're a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell's a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she's happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it's wrong, and she must do something about it.
My Thoughts: We Are The Goldens by new to me author Dana Reinhardt explores relationships with two closely knit sisters at the center. Nell and her older sister Layla have always been close, more than sisters, they are an extension of one another. When Layla starts to change and become secretive and withdrawn, Nell notices and when she discovers that Layla is involved with one of the teachers, Nell struggles with what she should do. She loves Layla and wants her to be happy but she knows it’s wrong and knows she has to do something about it.
The entire book is written from Nell’s point of view as if she is speaking to Layla, almost like a letter. Through Nell’s recollections and perspective, we learn about Layla’s relationship with her teacher, Mr. B and about Nell’s infatuation with Sam Fitzpayne. We meet Nell’s best friend, Felix. I didn’t care for Layla. I felt she took advantage of Nell and put her in an awkward position by expecting her to keep her secret. I thought she was selfish and as the elder sister, Layla should have been a better role model. Where Layla falls short, Felix was fabulous. He is a wonderful best friend and the author touches lightly on them being more in the future. I would have liked to see more of that explored because I thought Felix and Nell had great chemistry as friends.
I felt bad for Nell. She loves her sister and wants to be happy for her but she struggles through the entire story to decide what to do. The entire situation is a Kobayashi Maru. No matter what Nell does, she will come out the loser. We learn at the very end of the book what Nell decides to do but there are too many unanswered questions with no closure. I would have liked to read the outcome of Layla’s situation, the condition of Felix’s dad, the budding relationship between Felix and Nell and what happens with Sam Fitzpayne.
My Final Verdict: Overall, I enjoyed this book but I do not care for loose ends in a stand-alone story. I recommend this book for the good writing and interesting story. It moves at an acceptable pace and Nell and Felix make the story worth reading. If loose ends and unanswered questions at the end of book bother you, this may not be the book for you.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of We Are The Goldens from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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