Synopsis: The screech of tires brought Hannah Scott’s world as she knew it to a devastating end. Even a year after she signed the papers to donate her daughter’s organs, Hannah is still reeling with grief when she unexpectedly stumbles into the life of the Bell family, whose child, Maddie, survived only because hers had died. Mesmerized by this fragile connection to her own daughter and afraid to reveal who she actually is, Hannah develops a surprising friendship with Maddie’s mother, Olivia.
Review: I have no idea how Amy Hatvany comes up with the story lines for her books. I would have never imagined the lives of the families of a donor and the recipient becoming intertwined. She doesn't make it cheesy in a "your person has my person's heart now and so we'll fall in love" way. She just creates very realistic characters whose worlds happen to collide at some point and takes it from there.
I could relate to Hannah's grief and her desire to shut herself off from the world after losing her daughter. I could certainly sympathize with Olivia wanting to leave her home situation, but staying (as so many women do) because of her daughter, Maddie. And Maddie is my favorite person in the book. Her voice is fresh and, even though she's spent years being sick, she is the typical teenager. She can be abrasive, but she's also scared. She wants to live a normal life and go to school, but she'd also like to stay at home and continue homeschooling rather than be subjected to the stares and whispers of classmates. She hates her father and can't understand her mother. Typical teenager, right? She's also the catalyst for the changes in Hannah and Olivia.
I loved the relationship between Hannah and Maddie and had to wonder if Hannah saw bits of what future Emily would have been like in her. Whatever she saw, it was good for her. Spurred on by meeting Maddie, Hannah begins to open up just a little more, work through her grief and stop hiding behind the death of Emily. Watching her daughter overcome her fears and begin to really live gives Olivia the courage to start moving toward a better life for her and Maddie. The friendship of the women is something I would have never imagined, but it works well in this capable author's hands.
Hatvany is an amazing writer. Her characters are fully dimensional and she seems to bring them to life with such ease. With each book, she gets better and better. It's always a pleasure to read her work and I'm already anxiously awaiting her next book.
Published: March 2014
Disclosure: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.
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