Yet another novel with the title of a well-known song, but author Sara Zarr uses this phrase to describe the story of the girl, Deanna Lambert. After getting caught in the back seat of a car with her brother’s best friend, Tommy, when she was only 13, her life changed forever.

Now 16, Deanna Lambert tried to forget, but has struggled with the repercussions of her mistake and the effect it has had on her friends, family and her own life. Striving to reestablish a relationship with her parents, her efforts are stifled by the distractions of her older brother Darren and his girlfriend Stacy, who have unexpectedly become teenage parents. But when she starts a new job, reencounters Tommy and finds herself falling for her best friend’s boyfriend, Deanna’s feelings will come to a peak. Image

The story contained many important messages, like the struggles of teenage parenthood, the suffocation of a small town life and the importance of forgetting and forgiving people’s past mistakes. These issues make the novel relatable and readable.

I admire how Zarr chose to make a touchy subject, a first time, the focus of the story. Making the protagonist so young when it happened added the confusion and frustration in Deanna’s character.

The problem came with the ending: too many loose ends. I was left wondering, well, what happened? Where is the solution to the problem? Compared to the beginning, the ending felt rushed and abrupt What the book needed was some sort of conclusion, to answer these questions. Instead, I was left hanging. Since this is Zarr’s debut novel, it is an example of a good, solid first effort and how an author’s writing can improve gradually.

Overall, this was a good read. All it needed was an epilogue.

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