Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:
Synopsis for Every Last Promise (from Goodreads):
Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson and Gayle Forman, Every Last Promise is a provocative and emotional novel about a girl who must decide between keeping quiet and speaking up after witnessing a classmate’s sexual assault.
Kayla saw something at the party that she wasn’t supposed to. But she hasn’t told anyone. No one knows the real story about what happened that night—about why Kayla was driving the car that ran into a ditch after the party, about what she saw in the hours leading up to the accident, and about the promise she made to her friend Bean before she left for the summer.
Now Kayla’s coming home for her senior year. If Kayla keeps quiet, she might be able to get her old life back. If she tells the truth, she risks losing everything—and everyone—she ever cared about.
Author: Kristin Halbrook
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
I’m not sure where I found this book: I think it was a combination of blogs and browsing my libraries newest additions.
I wanted to read this book because it focuses on a sexual assault–I wholeheartedly support any book that gets the conversation started about sexual assault and reporting it. The statistics about sexual assault are devastating to read and break my heart (you can read some here). I was looking forward to reading a book that tackles the notion of what happens when a sexual assault happens in a small community and how young people deal with it.
The chapters alternate between the past and the present. I found that this delivery keeps your attention and contributes to the suspense of finding out what actually happened to these characters. Learning about the past helps establish the characters and the setting, thus helping you decipher the actions of the characters in the present.
Because when the plot isn’t focusing on what has happened, it’s focusing on Kayla struggling to come to terms with what she knows…and what she doesn’t know. And knowing the community she was a part of helps understand why she is reacting the way she is.
The scary thing is, I can totally see this situation happening in real life. It feels very real and that can make it hard to read at times. As you read, you want these characters to do the right thing but because it is so realistic and because you read the statistics of sexual assault, you know that they may not do the right thing, making it frustrating at times to watch things unfold in the way that they do.
This is why I have labelled this book as mixed feelings: I didn’t like any of the characters (well, maybe Noah). And it isn’t because of how they react to the situation at hand. Kayla and her friends are the type of girls I would never be friends with in high school so it was just a clash of personalities with me. I just didn’t like her. However, I did understand her. As I said before, the altering between the past and the present really helps establish her character.
I do feel like these characters are a little cliché. They are your typical popular girls in YA contemporary but as someone who comes from a small town, I do see the realism. They straddle that line between realistic and extreme but I think it works well for this story overall.
There really isn’t a romance to this story and I like that what is there doesn’t take away from the main story at hand.
My Rating: 3.5/5
I think this book does a great job at tackling a subject that we like to shy away from. This is a great story about talking and reporting sexual assaults. While the characters aren’t my personal favourites, they worked well for this story overall.
Read if You Like: YA Contemporary, books talking about sexual assault
Avoid if You: N/A (I think everyone should read this)