This is going to be a slightly confusing review, given that I rated this four stars, but mostly nitpick the novel here, so bare with me.
I toyed with the thought of rating this three stars. Frankly, my chosen rating of four stars is definitely more of a testament to my mental block to rate good books lower that four stars, than it is to the actual rating I think this probably deserved.
Now, don't get me wrong. This is in no way a bad
book; it just isn't a great book. And I think, that from the years that I've spent reading Armentrout's various works, I've come to expect a slightly higher standard.
I definitely think that she does a wonderful job of conveying emotion and that it serves to convey some important messages and morals. I do feel like it came across a little heavy handed though, and as a result seemed a little immature at times. The peril of reading Young Adult novels as a 21 year old, I suppose.
I think the novel would have had a greater impact as a New Adult release, which would have given the author the chance to explore some of the themes to a more serious degree. I felt like a fair portion of the book was spent tiptoeing around the protagonist's survivor's guilt, and the extent to which this was affecting her mental health. A couple of instances, such as the discussion of her future with the grief counsellor, really left me anticipating a big admission from the protagonist. Did she wish she'd died in the accident? Was she depressed? I feel like it was hinted at, but never strictly addressed. I think that in theory, it makes sense to target a YA audience, because of the moralistic message of the book. But unfortunately, I think that in practice, it hindered the novel a lot.
I felt like I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. I think it's probably because we've become used to the standard plot formatting of having a big climax towards the end of the novel. And while that does, kind of happen, when Lena and Sebastian fall out, because of that earlier, much larger climatic event, it all falls a little short for me.
And to top that off, I think that way about the halfway mark of the novel, it started to feel a little rushed. And as a result I felt like there were a few loose ends when the novel came to a close. Did Sebastian know that Lena and Cody had a thing at some point? What happened to Keith's parents? Did he and Abby actually date?