Thursday, May 15, 2014

Then and Always by Dani Atkins: Blog Tour

From Goodreads: Rachel Wiltshire has everything she’s ever wanted: a close group of friends, a handsome boyfriend, and acceptance to the journalism program at a top-choice college. But one fateful evening, tragedy tears her world apart. Five years later, Rachel returns home for the first time to celebrate her best friend’s wedding. Still coping with grief, she can’t stop thinking about the bright future she almost had, if only that one night had gone differently. But when a sudden fall lands her in the hospital, Rachel wakes to find that her life has completely changed. Now she has her dream job as a writer and a stylish apartment, but the people she loves most are not the way she remembers them. Unable to trust her own recollections, Rachel tries to piece together what really happened, and not even she can predict the astonishing truth.

My Thoughts: Rachel is a girl who seemingly has it all, until she doesn't. Or does she? After a tragic accident claims the life of Rachel's best friend, Jimmy, she is forced to accept a life without him in it. I hurt for Rachel while reading about the accident. You could feel the love that Jimmy had for her, and while she was in a relationship with Matt, you could also feel the friendly love Rachel had for Jimmy.

Fast forward to five years later, and Rachel is heading home to celebrate her best friend's wedding. This is where we learn that in the past five years, Rachel and Matt have broken up, Rachel's dad is very ill, and Rachel is suffering some severe headaches. After taking a walk, Rachel is mugged and wakes up in the hospital. This is where the story really begins because we discover that Jimmy is alive, and Rachel is engaged to Matt! Crazy, right? Rachel definitely thinks so, and so did I.

This twist made me wonder about what I would think if I woke up and suddenly my entire life was different. How would I react? I think I'd get a lot more hysterical than Rachel did. Rachel cannot remember anything about her past life. All she remembers is that Jimmy is dead, but he's not. He is very much alive. Right?

The book then journeys into Rachel essentially trying to prove that Jimmy is dead, though he's standing right there with her at all times. I felt for Rachel throughout the whole novel. She loses her best friend, but then finds out she hasn't, but doesn't recognize anything else from her life. I think she felt conflicted because obviously she didn't want Jimmy to be dead, but she also couldn't imagine the life that everyone was telling her was hers.

The ending of this book will be what everyone talks about and remembers. Truthfully, I kind of suspected it, but when I reached the end, I still found myself pleasantly surprised. This would make the perfect book club book. I found myself trying to explain the book to my fiancé, but it's one of those books you need to read to be able to talk about it with anyone. I definitely recommend making someone else read this because you'll want to have someone to discuss it with. This really would be a perfect book club pick.

I would give this 3.5 stars out of 5 because I did see the end coming, and I did find it a bit confusing at the beginning. Definitely check it out, though. It's the perfect book to lay out in the sun with.

Then and Always will be available May 20th, 2014. Check it out on Goodreads, Penguin Canada, and Amazon Canada.

The lovely people at Penguin Canada provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, but this did not sway my opinion in any way.

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