August and Everything After by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski (May 1, 2018)
Overview: Quinn comes to her Aunt's house on the Jersey shore to escape her past and her future. After an incident at the end of high school, she's lost her mom's trust, and she has no clue what the future has in store. One day, while working her second job at a bar, she meets Malcom, a young musician relaunching his career after tragedy stopped it in his tracks. Though she's recovering from her losses and Malcom is struggling with sobriety, they are pulled together and intertwined when Quinn becomes part of his band. Though they only complicate each other's stories, it is in the strain and confusion that they both find their new paths forward. Overall: 5
Characters: 5 I absolutely adored these characters. Quinn makes for a great narrator. I particularly love how the author shows so clearly the way different aspects of her life meld together to shape her ideas and decisions. Her wonderful relationship with her aunt encourages her to be a cautious dreamer while the guilt that she's come to associate with her mother weighs her down and brings self doubt.
The relationships in this story are what really stand out to me. As I mentioned, I love Quinn and her aunt. I also love the healing storyline with her mother, even though her mom isn't a major part of the book. There are also great friendship stories with her growing closer to coworker Liam and forming a casual yet supportive friendship with his girlfriend, Kiki. Finally, there's Quinn and Malcom. I appreciate how self aware she is through their entire connection. She understands that the commitment and how deeply they care for one another may actually turn out negatively for both their longterm goals. Quinn and the narrative show a level of consideration I've never had the pleasure of enjoying in a book before.
Plot: 5 This book made me want to keep reading. The plot is engaging and is kept at a constant rollercoaster. We wonder whether or not Quinn will go with the band or get together with Malcom in the end. Doktorski brings it all together with an ending that perfectly brings together everything she has begun.
Writing: 5 I am truly impressed. Doktorski balances a number of things that often bring books down. The musical aspect of this book is strongly represented. I felt like I could hear and understand the songs as Quinn did which made it powerful instead of flimsy. Doktorski also balances weight and levity to perfection in this book. Malcom struggles with substance abuse and Quinn has a long, difficult past that she hasn't come to terms with yet. While the seriousness is never forgotten, there are moments of laughing and brightness that show the good moments perfectly. To Buy This Book: Click Here
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