Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Reviewed by: Judith
Hands down, one of the best YA books I’ve read this year but caveat: its score is based off of the overwhelming feeling of happy nostalgia I felt when reading it. If you are younger or older, you will definitely be able to empathize with the main characters but maybe not at the same high level of awesome I did as a child of the 90s.
Plot: It’s the fall of 1990 and Layla Warren is ready for her Senior Year of high school in sleepy Norman, NJ. She has known all of these kids for her entire life and even though her mother ran out on her years ago, she is one of the popular ones, making it into the vaulted echelons of school dance royalty and hanging at all the best parties. Then, out of nowhere a new kid shows up at school and takes everyone by surprise. All the girls love Trip for his gorgeous looks and his affable ways while all the boys want to be his friend because he loves to party and hangs with all the prettiest girls. He oozes confidence and has that ‘it’ factor that will take him far in life. Layla thinks she’d never have a chance with this new hot boy but after being paired up for a school assignment, she goes on to befriend him. As the school year progresses, so does their friendship and over time, Layla will learn to grow and love and ultimately spread her own wings. The final pages will have you begging the question, what will become of her friendship with Trip and where will life take her?
Review: Can I steal back my line from the top of the page? Oh yeah, I’m gonna do it! It’s so apt. Hands down one of the best YA books I’ve read this year (possibly ever?). I was so
surprised at how much I truly liked this book and using Ellen’s favorite line, just give it a shot and after 50 pages if you’re not hooked, well then, you have serious deep seated issues. It’s amazing!
Remember When is a romance, yes, in that Layla tests the boundaries of friendship and explores love with Trip. If you’re not one for a romantic aspect, don’t let this turn you off because there is something for everybody to like. It’s one of those novels that just so perfectly encapsulates what it is to be a teen on the cusp of adulthood. The antics of Layla and her friends as they navigate high school, after school jobs, and beyond read like the story of my life yet they are 100% applicable to the teens of today. There are scenes that are tender, awkward, sweet, and just plain tedious. But let’s be real: these moments all blending together is what describes and ultimately makes up the high school experience. The kids have definite issues – missing parents, drinking, underage sex – but what childhood is without minor drama? What we see here is really tame in comparison to some of the high octane neurosis found in YA novels set in the here and now. The kids are not perfect but they’re trying to navigate their final year of school with panache.
You’ll laugh along at secondary characters doing stupid things at parties; you’ll sigh as Trip makes his way into Layla’s heart; and you’ll cry when Layla is finally forced to lay childhood to rest. This is a great tale of growing up in the suburbs and it will leave you with an overwhelming sense of happiness. Seriously,this is one of those books that makes you tear up at the end but still leaves you with a big smile on your face and the thought running through your head, “That was just so…so…good!”
In the end I’m going to give this one a 10 out of 10.
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 10. Layla, girl you are so fun. One of the popular kids who is down to earth and naive, Layla seems like she would be such a cool friend to have. She’s loyal and loving and really just wants to enjoy her senior year. She does zany stuff but at times is uncomfortable with it. She’s the better version of you (only because she seems so real while also getting to smooch with Trip and God, you know I want to do that too).
How much did I like the love interest: 10. Trip, Trip, Trip. At first I hated your dorky nickname but now I’m really digging it. You’re the guy that we all want to hope exists! The one we were sure would move to our school during senior year and then sweep us off our feet. You are funny and irreverent and your full on smile could make a 90 year old woman blush. Plus you love to run with your shirt off and–why oh why aren’t you real??? Wahhh!
How believable is the plot: 10. Remember When is every dumb, real, awkward, and hilarious thing you ever did in high school. From the dances to the parties, to the study dates to the making of really bad student films, this plot is spot on. It’s like being back in school again!
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 10. T. Torrest writes with a fluidity that I have not seen in ages. Her phrasing is simple, sometimes not even full sentences, just words to describe a moment and she is so good at it that you feel exactly what she wants you to feel. The sense of nostalgia will overwhelm you, I promise. The dialogue is great, the hesitance of new friendships and love is spot on…just yes. Amazing.
How much did I want to keep reading: 10. I wanted it to go on and on if only to let me feel like I was 17 again…and also cause I had to find out what Layla does with her life! Thank god it’s the start of a trilogy though wait–there’s only two books out? AGH!
Final Score: 10/10. What are you waiting for? Do you need more convincing? Go get it. I promise you’ll like it.
****Disclaimer: I got this book for free from the author. I swear I didn’t bribe her in any way, or get paid for my review. And we might not be legit enough to need this disclaimer but after working at a law firm for many years it’s better safe than sorry!****