[ Disclaimer: this arc was gifted to me by the lovely people at Ink Road. I apologise for the different review from my usual self but I might have just re read the book for the second time and cried my eyes out once again and have just a tad bit of a migraine <3 ]
Have you ever had so many options and ideas in your head not to be able to sort it through? So many emotions, so many thoughts that the clutter becomes indistinguishable? How can you put down on paper in a linear and clear way what you feel about something, and analyse that something for people to understand what goes on in your head? I finished The year after you almost a week ago, I read it in less than Four hours and I honestly am still struggling to bring this review to you. I feel like words– no, I feel like my words and my vocabulary is not enough in the four languages I can speak to sort through the level of love that I have for this book.
The year after you managed in so many things for me that in those three hours I sobbed my heart out and fell in love and was born again. This book managed to make me fall in love with a female character, things that didn’t happen since I was 14 and that made me realise maybe my path was not properly a straight line. This book made me fall in love with a genre that I thought I was maybe getting too old to find relatable. This book managed to position itself in a timeless moment in my heart and gain a position into my favourite pile and I’ve already propositioned it to so many people I lost count. It’s the book I twitted about mid-reading ( things that I rarely do because of obvious reasons – first among them my peculiar relationships with endings and how I seem to never be satisfied with them, but not with this one! ) …
So what makes it so special? What makes this simple newborn not yet published young adult into this gem? Well, This book and its characters are like a diamonds, pressed by the weight of their guilt they’ll find a way to polish themselves and shine… in other words:
S Y N O P S I S:
New Years’ Eve, San Francisco. The most promising party of the year ends in a tragic accident. Cara survives. Her best friend Georgina doesn’t.
Nine months later, Cara is struggling, consumed by guilt and grief. Her mum decides a Swiss boarding school will be the fresh start Cara needs. But Cara knows that swapping sunshine for snow won’t make a blind bit of difference. Georgina is gone, and nothing will bring her back.
Up in the Alps, Cara’s old life feels a million miles away. At Hope Hall, nobody knows about her past. And she intends to keep it that way. But classmates Ren and Hector have other ideas. Cara tries to keep her distance, but she’s drawn to the offbeat, straight-talking Hector, who understands her grief better than anyone. Her new friends are determined to break down the walls she has so carefully built up. And, despite it all, Cara wants them to.
The closer Cara grows to Hector, the more Georgina slips away. Embracing life at Hope Hall means letting go of the past; of her memories of that fatal New Year’s Eve. But Cara is quite sure she doesn’t deserve a second chance.
R e v i e w :
This book is not simply a journey, doesn’t only have representations, isn’t simply about teenagers in a boarding school in the Alps. this book is about grief, about guilt and self-hatred. This book is about touching the ground and realising you have the strength to push back up. You can’t grasp that possibility while you are falling, gravity will pull you down, but once your feet hit the ground, once you have something to leverage onto you can push through the pressure and come out of it anew. The pain will always be there when you lose someone so important they will always be a hole in the frame of your life, but that guilt, that pain will slowly fade away and you are left with memories. You need to keep on pushing or you’ll die with them.
This book surprised me, and I’m not easily surprised, every turn every discovery, every piece of honesty was raw and real as a punch in my feels and I felt like I could breathe again only at the epilogue. Feeling for others is easier than feeling for yourself, running away is all good on paper but you need to face things to actually grow, and this book helps you go through a daunting process, feeling every bit of it but without triggering anything that might make my anxiety spike up! It’s a story about acceptance, about people that love with the tools they are given, about teenagers that become adults maybe a tad bit too early. It’s a story about hope, a hope that you didn’t even dream of on the first page.
Would I love another book? Hell yeah! Tell me all about Rae babe! But in general, I’m glad about how this book is, and I’ll treasure it forever.
C o n c l u s i o n s:
what to say, Nina de Pass is now definitely one of my favourite authors and currently my only favourite young adult writer. Her character is vivid and flawless. You start her book and think you see typical tropes but soon you discover that there is so much more.
The ending was flawless, the middle was superb, I love the communication and the total absence of stupid “misunderstanding” Just for the sake of it. This book is outstanding, The cover is amazing, the writing is enchanting, I just want to go on the alps and open a boarding school for kids who might need it now!
Would I recommend it?!?
I will personally walk you to the bookshop on the 14th of February
and force you to buy and read it!
Now that’s what I would call a Valentine’s date 😉