The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel

The One That Got Away

Ruby and Ethan were perfect for each other. Until the day they suddenly weren’t.

Now, ten years later, Ruby is single, having spent the last decade focusing on her demanding career and hectic life in Manhattan. There’s barely time for a trip to England for her little sister’s wedding. And there’s certainly not time to think about what it will be like to see Ethan again, who just so happens to be the best man.

But as the family frantically prepare for the big day, Ruby can’t help but wonder if she made the right choice all those years ago. Because there is nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past…

The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel
Published August 22, 2017 by Penguin
Format: Netgalley e-book; 352 pages
Fiction/Romance/Retellings
Also By This Author: Jenny Sparrow Knows the Future, Love by the Book
Goodreads
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

The One That Got Away is a modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, a classic tale of love revisited. Melissa Pimentel reimagines Persuasion in her own way, turning quiet and humble Anne Elliot into determined and witty Ruby Atlas. Captain Wentworth has evolved into Ethan Bailey, a Forbes magazine featured technology entrepreneur, who, I was happy to discover, treated Ruby much more warmly than Wentworth treated Anne after their angsty decade apart (I love Captain Wentworth, but even he acknowledged that he was rather cold to Anne).

The One That Got Away alternates between the present, where Ruby and her ex Ethan are awkwardly reunited for a week in England to celebrate the wedding between Ruby’s sister and Ethan’s best friend, and past flashbacks covering Ruby and Ethan’s short, but passionate romance. Ruby is forced to confront her lingering and unrequited feelings for Ethan while surrounded by her family and their own erupting problems, all the while suffering over the real, secret reason she broke up with Ethan ten years ago.

When I first heard about this novel from a friend, I knew I had to read it. Persuasion is one of my top five favorite novels, and therefore it’s practically sacred to me. I’ve read three other Persuasion retellings (here are my reviews of Amelia Elkins Elkins and The Last Best Kiss), as well as two blog retellings (Half Hope and Only Annie), and the only time I was disappointed was while reading For Darkness Shows the Stars. I won’t give any spoilers, but Kai alters something that I didn’t agree with ethically.

I thoroughly enjoyed The One That Got Away. Ruby was an entertaining narrator, and her and Ethan’s relationship felt real and bittersweet. I was pleasantly surprised by how Melissa Pimentel improved the minor characters, specifically Ruby’s family, and strengthened relationships instead of severing them as I had expected.

Ruby, listen to me. You are a human. You are allowed to feel sad, and scared, and whatever else you feel. You’re allowed to feel things. Stop trying to out-tough life.

Read This Book If…

…you are open to retellings of classic literature.
…you are not opposed to cursing and sexual references in books (I’d rate this book PG-13, with a generous dose of the f-bomb).
…you enjoy unrequited and lost love stories.
…you are in a slump and need a book to lift your spirits!

She dwelled on the way he smiled when he saw her, like she was made of a million tiny stars.

Final Musings

I was reading through two historical fiction novels lately; one is a Pulitzer Prize winner and the other is the final installment in a series that I love. But they both deal with dark eras in history that have reemerged as current events, and I have been struggling to keep myself together dealing with real-life, let alone fictionalized accounts, of war, racism, and hatred.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by my feelings and convictions and I just want to turn my compassion meter off so I can recuperate. This in turn makes me feel guilty and then I find myself in a vicious cycle, alternating between anger, hopelessness, and self-loathing. This is not healthy. As guilty as I felt for wanting to escape, I’m glad I did.

I will still finish those other two novels I’ve been reading, because they’re powerful and important, but it was refreshing and uplifting to read The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel. If you need a pick-me-up to get you through the end of summer, I’d sincerely recommend this one!

What are some novels that have helped you escape from the burdens of reality? And if you know of any other worthy Persuasion retellings, please share them with me!

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Love & Friendship Movie Review

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Set in the 1790s, Love and Friendship centers on beautiful widow Lady Susan Vernon, who has come to the estate of her in-laws to wait out colorful rumors about her dalliances circulating through polite society. Whilst there, she decides to secure a husband for herself and her rather reluctant debutante daughter, Frederica. (Synopsis taken from imdb)

Based on the unfinished epistolary novel, Lady Susan, by Jane Austen.

My friend Hamlette has been hosting an “I <3 Jane Austen” event on her blog this week, and I’m really excited to be able to join in on the Austentatious fun with a movie review of Love & Friendship!

The most recent Jane Austen movie adaptation came out last year, but I wasn’t able to see it until just recently (thank you, Amazon Prime!). Unlike most of the other Jane Austen adaptations I have seen, I did not enjoy Love & Friendship upon first viewing. The main character Lady Susan, played by Kate Beckinsale, is abominable. She’s the exact opposite of the typical heroine you’d expect from Jane Austen. As the movie’s tagline boasts, she’s “opportunistic, devious, shrewd, calculating, cunning, unprincipled.”

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But, I really wanted to like this film regardless of Lady Susan’s character, so I gave it another watch and I’m really glad I did. I enjoyed the movie much more the second time around. The supporting characters are really entertaining, especially James Martin, who is so foolish you can’t help but laugh.

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There are some terrific puns and subtle humor in this movie, and if you don’t pay close attention to the dialogue you’ll miss some really funny lines. Also, the costumes are lovely! One detail I appreciated was how oversized James Martin’s coat buttons were; it fit well with his overall ridiculousness.

As far as Jane Austen adaptations go, Lady Susan is intriguing and humorous, and at times it felt like watching Mansfield Park told through Mary Crawford’s point of view. And just as Ms. Austen would prefer, all the characters get their “comeuppance” and due rewards at the end :) I know the movie is critically acclaimed, but it may take multiple viewings for you to enjoy it. I’m really glad I gave it a second chance because it could easily become the type of movie I quote whenever a subtle sarcastic comment is called for…

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Here’s the trailer!

 Stop by Hamlette’s Soliloquy to discover more I <3 Jane Austen posts!

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

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Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Published 1811 by Thomas Egerton
Format: hardcover; 357 pages
Classics/Romance
Also By This Author: EmmaMansfield ParkNorthanger Abbey
GoodreadsAmazon

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

Sense and Sensibility is the first novel by Jane Austen that I ever read. I randomly started reading it one day in 10th grade when I had some down time in class, and ever since I’ve been a Janeite. Last summer I reread Sense and Sensibility for the second or third time for Austen in August, but I got so caught up in baby shower plans and arts and crafts that I didn’t get a chance to post my review. And then this week something made me think of Alan Rickman :( which made me think about how much I love Colonel Brandon and Rickman’s portrayal of him that I decided it was finally time to talk about the book on my blog.

Besides Colonel Brandon, my absolute favorite part of Sense and Sensibility is Elinor. I know she’s not as entertaining or interesting as Marianne, but like Anne Elliot and Jane Bennet, she has qualities of selflessness and kindness that I admire and strive to incorporate into my own character, especially when I’m around people who really try my patience!

“Elinor was to be the comforter of others in her own distresses, no less than in theirs.”

Another quality of Elinor’s that I admire, that Anne Elliot also possesses; is the ability to think frugally and responsibly. In my personal life, I have a 6 month old baby and my husband and I just bought a house, so we could use some frugal thinking right now!

I have a hard time really reviewing Sense and Sensibility because there are so many good characters, plot twists, and heartfelt conversations. I could write essays on this book, but I also don’t feel that I have anything new to say about it. Except that I love Colonel Brandon! Oh wait, that’s not new, is it?

Read This Book If…

…you enjoy dry, witty humor.
…you like reading coming of age stories involving heartache.
…you’re looking for a timeless, excellently written classic to enjoy this summer.
…you love seeing close-knit family relationships in fiction.

Final Musings

Here are several Sense and Sensibility adaptations I’ve watched (and in some cases watched and rewatched):

Sense and Sensibility (1995)

mv5bnzk1mju3mdqyml5bml5banbnxkftztcwnjc1otm2mq-_v1_sx640_sy720_Not only the best Sense and Sensibility adaptation in my opinion, but it’s also one of my all-time favorite films. The acting is what really makes this film so excellent. Everyone was perfectly casted and even the annoying characters (i.e. Lucy Steele) aren’t annoying enough to deter me from enjoying the movie over and over again (this is the exact problem I have with Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Collins in the Pride and Prejudice miniseries). The script also holds true to the novel and the soundtrack is lovely.

sense-and-sensibility-1995-sense-and-sensibility-2580847-300-425Sense and Sensibility (2008)

This is also a wonderful adaptation, although it can’t top the Emma Thompson film version. I loved Dan Stevens as Edward Ferrars and David Morrissey plays Colonel Brandon well, too. I wish I could buy the score because the music is hauntingly beautiful, but last time I checked I couldn’t find anywhere to purchase it :(

jo36wpieprojectdashwood_1423093042_140Web Series

There are two web series adaptations, “Elinor and Marianne Take Barton” and “Project Dashwood”, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them. They both could have used better scripts and I wasn’t a fan of the acting in Project Dashwood. I would love to see a well-adapted web series of Sense and Sensibility one day. Maybe I should try to get a production together myself… (just kidding?)

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is about second chances and changes of heart. Here are ten books that I’ve changed my mind about over the years, for better or for worse.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed

 

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë – When I first read this novel in 9th grade I must have been going through a brooding, melancholy phase (I was; I was 14) because I really enjoyed this book. When I reread it a couple of years ago, I was baffled at how I could have ever enjoyed a book whose characters were so unlovable. I do give Emily Brontë credit for two things, however: she cultivated my love for classic lit and she wrote a story that was intriguing despite its despicable characters.

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Emma by Jane Austen – Oh, Emma Woodhouse. She’s such a spoiled brat, but I feel that I’ve matured along with her and even though I didn’t like this book as recently as 3 years ago, now I actually enjoy it. I love watching and rewatching the movie and miniseries (except for the Box Hill picnic. I always fast-forward that whole scene).

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Twilight by Stephanie Meyer – I started this series when I was a college freshman and I really enjoyed it at the time. But now it’s one of those stories I no longer feel comfortable advocating or recommending to other readers (especially teens). I know I’m probably stepping on a lot of toes by saying this, but Bella and Edward’s relationship is so unhealthy it’s dangerous. Two things I do like about Twilight, however; are Jasper (<3) and the movie soundtrack.

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Something Borrowed and Something Blue by Emily Giffin – Ok, I loved these books when I first read them back in college. Maybe I identified with Rachel’s personality. But the more I think about it now, the more absurd I find it is to sympathize with someone who has an affair with her best friend’s francé. I will admit, though, that I do like the movie. Probably because it has 3 of my favorite actors.

c6b3625ef9060e64ed4bbc8588586476Anne of Windy Poplars by L. M. Montgomery – It is no secret that I love this series. Anne of Green Gables is my favorite book and I reread several, if not all of the books every other year. Anne of Windy Poplars, however, has always been my least favorite and I typically skip over it. Younger me would say it’s because it was seriously lacking in Gilbert! I think if I reread it now, though, I could appreciate the Gilbert-less events more than my teenage self could.

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The Lord of the Rings series by J. R. R. Tolkien – This is a series I did not finish several years ago. I know how beloved it is, but I found it…boring. *waits to be pelted by rocks* I did read all of The Fellowship of the Ring and the first half of The Two Towers and I think that’s giving it a fair chance. Anyway, lately I’ve been having a change of heart and I’m thinking about reading The Two Towers and Return of the King sometime. Mainly it’s because I feel like a bad nerd for not having read the entire series and seen all of the movies!

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – I’ve read one novel by John Green and was not impressed. I was actually really into Paper Towns until Margo showed up and then it went seriously downhill for me. But last week a friend encouraged me to give John Green a second chance and he specifically recommended The Fault in Our Stars. I already know the story but I think I’ll try to read it sometime, anyway.

How do you feel about the books on my list?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Picked Up on a Whim

toptentuesday

Happy Tuesday, everyone! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is about books I’ve started reading without knowing what they’re about beforehand. This is something I rarely do. Normally I read a book’s synopsis and several reviews before committing to read a book (my reading time is that valuable to me!), but I was able to find some pleasantly surprising impulse reads to share with you today, as well as a few disappointing ones.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Picked Up on a Whim

Wives and Daughters

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell – I started reading Elizabeth Gaskell’s final novel a few months after I finished North and South. I didn’t know anything about it, not even that Gaskell never finished it! But if you’ve seen my review of it you know that I loved this novel, and the miniseries. I’m still dying to know how Gaskell would have finished it, though.

meanttobe

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill – I can honestly say that this is the novel that got me into Young Adult literature a few years ago. I found it through the digital library while searching for similar books to Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments. Both book are now two of my favorites.

Me Before You

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – I actually thought this was another book when I picked it up. I’m kind of glad that I didn’t know anything about Me Before You before I started reading it because I may not have wanted to put myself through so many heart wrenching emotions (who am I kidding? I love when stories make me cry!).

Persuasion

Persuasion by Jane Austen – Jane Austen has been my favorite author for a long time, but I hadn’t known anything about Persuasion when I randomly decided to read it while on a road trip a few years ago. It’s one of those books that was incredibly hard for me to put down. I didn’t want to be antisocial sine I was on a trip with a lot of friends, but I definitely spent a lot of time reading (and daydreaming) about Persuasion for the beginning of that trip. I love that a 200 year-old book can still have that affect!

thewonderofallthings

The Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott – This is a book I happened to se on a shelf at the library and decided to check it out even though I had never heard of it before. I think I liked the cover. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator’s voice bothered me at times, but surprisingly that didn’t keep me from enjoying the book. I still think about the ending sometimes, actually.

5290225_origThe Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare – I had an awesome 8th grade English teacher who introduced me to Shakespeare. We read Hamlet and As You Like It, the latter of which we also got to see performed at our local performing arts center. After falling in love with the Bard I decided to read something on my own and randomly picked up The Taming of the Shrew, and that’s when I also found out that it’s the inspiration for 10 Things I Hate About You. I need to reread the play now that I can understand it better. I hope I still like it!

510yzqD6ukL._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_ The Princess Bride by William Goldman – I had seen the Princess Bridge movie when I was younger but only remembered that it had a happy ending. When I was a teenager I picked the book up at Barnes and Noble and it was one of those rare occurrences when I actually began reading it as soon as I got home. I was completely shocked by it though, because I thought it had a happy ending and then Wesley DIES. Of course it really does have a happy ending, but I was beginning to think the movie had deceived me.

Here are 3 disappointing books I happened to read on a whim…

15793306Servants’ Hall by Margaret Powell – Originally I was looking for Upstairs Downstairs when I came across this memoir at the library. Unfortunately, despite the fact that it was the basis for one of the love stories on Downton Abbey, I really couldn’t get into this book.

15815333The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer – I saw this book at the library one day and remembered that I had added it to my TBR a couple of years ago, but I couldn’t remember why. Sadly I could not enjoy Wolitzer’s writing style and this book became a DNF after 75 pages.

Judge_and_Jury_by_James_PattersonJudge and Jury by James Patterson – Someone gave me a few books to borrow while I was living in France and this was one of them. It was probably my first crime novel and definitely the first book I’ve read by James Patterson. I was really into Judge and Jury until I reached the ending. I did not like the way Patterson wrapped up everything. It was very anti-climatic.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Will Make You Laugh

toptentuesdayAhh, it feels good to be blogging! I have had an extremely busy month and finding the time (and in some cases, the desire) to blog was nearly impossible. But I’m back today for a fun Top Ten Tuesday all about books that have made me laugh.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Will Make You Laugh

The Martian

The Martian by Andy Weir – Do I talk about this book too much on my blog? Probably, but it’s all well-deserved praise! Astronaut Mark Watney, this book’s narrator, is extremely sarcastic and witty. Several times during my reading of this book I had to put it down to laugh or immediately find my husband to read excerpts to.

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Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – Another book that I love to gush about! Rainbow Rowell’s humor is perfect for dorks like me. Half of this book is composed of witty email exchanges between BFFs Jennifer and Beth. Their sarcastic rants will make you want to joke around with your own best friend.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling – I recently reread this book for the umpteenth time and even though I know the story by heart, I still laugh at the smart alecky dialogue between the characters. My favorite example from Azkaban is when the Marauder’s Map insults Professor Snape!

Me Before You

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – The last thing I expected when I started to read this book was to find myself dying of laughter. But Will and Lou are absolutely hilarious. It probably has something to do with the fact that they’re British and love to tease and insult each other.

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – “It’s been many years since I had such an exemplary vegetable.” Oh, Mr. Collins, you are so stupid.

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The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde – John Worthing and Algernon Montcrieff are so ridiculous sometimes, it’s almost impossible not to laugh. Especially when they argue about muffins.
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Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery – I have always loved how dramatic Anne Shirley is, with her graveyards of buried hopes and dreams and her dyed green hair. Some people find her theatrics annoying, but not me :)

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The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle – I can’t imagine a version of Robin Hood that isn’t funny. He always has the perfect comeback, and even when someone bests him he still finds a way to laugh about the situation. I laughed a few times while reading this book, but the 1938 movie version makes me laugh the most. It’s my favorite adaptation of the Robin Hood legend.

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Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare – My favorite Shakespearean comedy! Beatrice and Benedick make me laugh so much, especially the scene where they’re tricked into thinking the other one is in love with them. Since it’s Poetry Month AND currently Shakespeare week, I think it’s the perfect time to watch the movie adaptations of this play, and laugh and laugh about this scene:
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Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand – I’m sure this play is extremely cleverer in it’s original French, but unfortunately I’m not quite skilled enough to be able to understand all the puns. It’s still pretty funny to read in English, however, and I also enjoyed the Gerard Depardieu film version. Just imagine Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night but Viola is replaced by a French man with an enormous nose (that’s a really bad summary but you get the idea).

Thanks for reading! Have you laughed while reading any of these books? 

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Reads of 2015

toptentuesday

2015 is almost over and that means it’s time for me to reflect on all the wonderful books I’ve read this year! I’ll probably have another post up in a couple of weeks highlighting all my bookish thoughts from the year, but for now let me leave you with the best books I read over the past 12 months! These are all 5-star reads for me :)

Top Ten Reads of 2015

earnest

“A trivial comedy for serious people.” The Importance of Being Earnest is an absolute joy to watch/listen to/read (it’s a play though, so the best way to experience it is out loud). The characters are charming, witty, and hilarious. I chuckled and smiled to myself so many times while listening to a performance of this Oscar Wilde play.

mara dyer

This is one of those novels that kept me up at night because I HAD to know what happened next. Parts of Mara Dyer’s story are creepy, other parts are really suspenseful, and the characters are funny and interesting and blushingly romantic (Hello, Noah!). I loved The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer so much I bought a copy for myself right after returning the library version I had checked out.

Jurassic Park

Do-do-do-do-dooo. I’m a 90s kid so of course I love Jurassic Park (the film). I wanted to be Alan Grant when I grew up. I finally read the book this past summer and wow! Despite the heavy scientific and theoretical language, I flew through it. The story was altered a bit for the screen, but the underlying themes remain and the characters are relatively the same (except for John Hammond, who is not a lovable grandfather figure in the book).

Wives and Daughters

The only disappointing thing about Wives and Daughters is that Elizabeth Gaskell passed away before she could finish writing it! There were probably only a few chapters missing, so most of the story is there and it’s very enjoyable. We just have to imagine for ourself how the happy ending would have played out.

Cress

I finally read The Lunar Chronicles series this year (except for the final book, Winter, because I’m still on the hold list at the library) and Cress, although not my favorite character, is my favorite of the series so far. I loved following all of the characters, especially Thorne because he’s like Han Solo meets Flynn Rider so of course I loved him. There was also a lot of action and things happening in the novel that made it really fun for me to read right after having my son.

Me Before You

So many tears! But also, lots of smiles and happy feelings. Me Before You kind of wrecked me. It deals with sensitive subject matter that I won’t talk about here because of spoilers, but I wouldn’t recommend it to all readers. I decided to read it after finding out a movie is being made with Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke. Now I don’t know if I want to even see the movie because I’m not sure if I can handle all those heart wrenching feelings again.

Persuasion

This is the only reread on this list. I also reread Sense and Sensibility and the first three Harry Potter novels (all of which are 5-star reads for me), but Persuasion is rather dear to my heart. It’s not my favorite Austen novel (Pride and Prejudice is hard to beat, although Persuasion comes very close), but Anne Elliot is my favorite Austen heroine and who doesn’t love Captain Wentworth?

The Martian

I can’t rave enough about The Martian. The movie was great and the actors were all perfectly casted, but it’s still not as phenomenal as the book. Andy Weir’s writing style just blew me away. Anyone who can write 3/4 of a book in journal format and still make it a laugh-out-loud page turner definitely deserves all the praise. This novel is Macgyver meets Castaway on Mars and it’s hilarious.

openroadsummer

Swooooon. This is without doubt the most romantic book I read this year, but it will also make you want to hug your BFF and forgive the last person you had a fight with. I loved how real all the characters seemed; they all had issues, especially Reagan, and it was easy to find something to relate to. I only wish I had read Open Road Summer sooner!

Hello Goodbye

just finished Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between a couple of days ago and I am still dying to write a review. I was incredibly surprised by how much I loved this book. It started out cute but the premise of Aidan and Clare thinking about breaking up just because they were going to different colleges didn’t quite make sense to me until the end, and by that point I had already cried a few times (and anytime a book makes me feel something that much, I always give it 5-stars!).

What were your favorite reads from this year?