Release date: July 11th 2017
When Genevieve Grace wakes up from a coma, she can’t remember the car crash that injured her and killed her boyfriend Dallas, a YouTube star who had just released his first album. Genevieve knows she was there, and that there was another driver, a man named Brad Freeman, who everyone assumes is guilty. But as she slowly pieces together the night of the accident, Genevieve is hit with a sickening sense of dread—that maybe she had something to do with what happened.
As the internet rages against Brad Freeman, condemning him in a brutal trial by social media, Genevieve escapes to her father’s house, where she can hide from reporters and spend the summer volunteering in beautiful Zion National Park. But she quickly realizes that she can’t run away from the accident, or the terrible aftermath of it all.
Paula Stokes has been on my auto-buy authors list for a while and books like this one is the reason why. Her ability to write characters that are easy to relate to, flawed and lovable, relationships that are sweet and believable, and plots that are addicting to read, is why she has become one of my auto-buy authors and when this book comes out in physical form, I will be buying it.
Gen was a character I found easy to relate to, not because I’d ever been in her situation, but because I could see myself having the same sort of reaction if I were to ever be in her situation. Her whole world had been flipped upside down with the accident and the loss of her boyfriend and with the media and his fans and everyone wanting answers, there was no time for her to really grieve his death. She was grieving and she was scared and the flashes of memories were leading her to a conclusion she had no idea how to deal with. She went through a lot and she grew a lot through the book.
The book dealt with grief but it also dealt with internet shaming and how easily it can destroy a person’s life. The use of online articles and their comments section, the way people happily tore apart the guy accused of the accident even before all the evidence was in, was something to can be found online on most sites on any day. I found it very easy to understand why Gen would be terrified of her memories making her wonder if she was the cause of the accident, to have the online mob turn on her.
I also really appreciated the family dynamics in this book. Her parents were divorced and Gen hadn’t really gotten to know her father’s new wife so going out to stay with them to escape the media circus gave her the chance to warm up to her. Both her parents were doctors so she felt a lot of pressure to be perfect and it made admitted when she had made mistakes very difficult. It was very clear how much they did love each other though. I really loved her friendships with the two teens on her stepmom’s team at the Zion National Park.
Paula Stokes has definitely done it again. Every time I read a new book by her, it’s even better than the last. I didn’t think it would happen this time with how much I loved Girl Against the Universe and those two are very, very close. It’s definitely one of those situations where either could eek out top spot depending on my mood that day.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.