Jennifer E. Smith’s book always find something to which your emotions attach onto and grip at it so hard that tears are bound to fall somewhere between reading.
As some may know, I started college barely last August and it was only the first of many new experiences I was about to start with blind eyes, no idea of what was to happen to me. I read this book somewhere between that first semester, and it really spoke to me about my fears, my goals, all the what-ifs, from the very first page. Clare was facing something similar, a new beginning in a college far from her home, her friends, her parents, and Aidan, her boyfriend. In the last night before they are both bound to leave to opposing coasts of the USA, Clare makes up a list of places to go to remember significant moments of their relationship, as if that would tell her they should try a long-distance relationship, or break up every important thing between them.
I love the romance in this book because it wasn’t lovey dovey and sickly sweet, but realistic and respectful; they were both caring and sweet and oh-so-cute. I kept thinking about how Clare was going to be stupid if she left him just because they were going to be apart for so long, but I had the same thoughts. Why have a relationship like that? Every single reason she gave to Aidan I had in my own mind too, and I related every chapter more and more with Clare with her list-making brain and structure. She was realistic but hopeful of what they both had, and through the story we see her character develop well with this situation. I love it all.
Aidan was simply too much. He was a real romantic, funny, a dreamer, a geek cutie… *sigh*.
“That’s just Aidan: a natural talker, an unconscious prattler, a cheerful banterer.”
But other than those admirable and swoony aspects of him, his character had a very common problem among teens when it comes to colleges: when your parents want something you don’t. Aidan’s dad wanted him to go to his alma mater, but Aidan wasn’t going to, which brought a lot of conflict in his family and, eventually, his relationship with Clare.
As a whole, this novel was a real work of art, and I especially recommend it to everyone about to start college, or are in one, because it’ll speak tons of truth into your hearts and souls. Friendships end and new ones are made, decisions taken that’ll have a ripple effect through your life, and relationships that may or not may be meant to be. Jennifer E. Smith’s words resounded in my head and left me almost drown in a pool of tears from beginning until the end. Simply wonderful.
“Because love wasn’t something you could take back. It was like a magic spell: Once you said the words, they were simply out there, shifting and changing everything that had once been true.”
Rating: 5 stars