Release date: May 3rd 2016
It’s been six months since Cloudy’s best friend, Ashlyn, died in a bicycle accident. Cloudy’s been putting on a brave face for the outside world but inside, she’s struggling. Kyle, Ashlyn’s boyfriend, is lost and feels like he’s falling apart without her. As Ashlyn’s boyfriend and best friend, they should be able to lean on each other but after a mistake the year before, they’ve barely spoken. When Cloudy finds out that Ashlyn’s organs had been donated, and her parents have been in touch with a few of the recipients, she does something completely out of character. She takes the letters from the Montiels house and convinces Kyle to go on a road trip during winter break to meet the people who are alive because of Ashlyn. The trip could give them a chance to heal, or it could all be a huge mistake.
I was set to experience a lot of emotions going into this book, just based off the synopsis. There were definitely some tears(okay, more than some), a lot of laughter, plenty of smiles, and a great reading experience. I enjoyed the overall concept but the highlight, for me, was the character interactions and the way everything came together.
The book was told in the dual POVs of Cloudy and Kyle. It was interesting to see both their relationships with Ashlyn through their eyes and we were given a good sense of how much she meant to both of them. They were both compelling characters with very different personalities so it was easy to know which POV I was in at all times. Cloudy was the normally responsible girl, always reliable, but taking off on a spontaneous road trip was something she just had to do. Kyle was a jock struggling with everyone wanting him to return to ‘normal’ so a road trip out of town seemed like a good idea. The relationship between these two started off as a bit uncomfortable since there was so much history and so much connecting them without them really having talked to each other in a long time, but it slowly became something sweet and important to them both.
I absolutely loved the minor characters in the book just as much as the mains. Cloudy’s little sister Zoe and Kyle’s cousin Matty were such a huge highlight. Both so concerned for their family members who were obviously hurting and wanting to help but not knowing how. Another huge highlight was the kitten Kyle found in a church parking lot and not only adopted, but brought along on the road trip. The kitten, named Arm for Ashlyn’s initials, was adorable and made me want to go track down my own cats for a cuddle. All the characters added something to the story and I loved seeing them get their own little quirks, even if they were only in the book for a couple of scenes.
This book really delivered on all it promised to be. The plot stayed focused on the characters and their journey through the road trip and healing from Ashlyn’s death. It was wonderfully written, so many great quotes from this, and the pacing was really well done. There wasn’t a time I felt like things had gotten a little too repetitive because they’d stayed in the same place for too long, or that they were moving too quickly and I hadn’t gotten a good sense of the people they’d just left.
Definitely a book I want on my bookshelf when it comes out in physical form.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.