Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Review: We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

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I received this book for free from Random House in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: We Are The Goldens by Dana ReinhardtWe Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt
Published by Wendy Lamb Books on May 27th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Random House
Buy on Amazon

Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.

When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellaya. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They're a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell's a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she's happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it's wrong, and she must do something about it.

As someone who is always looking for unique reads I am quick to jump on novels written in the second person. I didn’t originally know that this is how We Are The Goldens was written but once I found out that little tidbit of info I was quick to scoop it up and get going on it. For those of you that are wary of the novel for this very reason I say “Do not fear!” This is a very successful use of this mode of story telling and even though there wasn’t as much substance to the story as I would have liked, I think it was a very well done novel.

Nell and Layla are sisters who are best friends, thick as thieves. When Nell was a little girl she even thought her name was Nellayla, which is a huge sign to her of just how intertwined their lives are. We get this story almost as if Nell is writing a letter to Layla and telling her all about how she dealt with everything that went on in their lives in her freshman year of high school. Things were supposed to be so perfect once they were back at the same school (Layla being a junior) but nothing went as planned when Nell was let in on what was going on in her big sister’s life. Sure, there are rumours about Mr. B every year with some new female student, but Nell quickly finds out that the ones about him and her sister are very true. I love reading about taboo relationships so this was a quick selling point for me as well but I can’t say that I got enough of that. We aren’t privy to all the dirty details of the relationship because we get the whole story from Nell who, for most of the novel, tries to not accept the truth of what is actually going on with her older sister. I longed to delve more into the inner workings of their relationship and see what it was from Mr. B’s side not only for the gloriously, beautiful, best-relationship-there-ever-was that Layla puts it out there to be.

Not all of the story is about what is going on with Layla and Mr. B, though. We also see what goes on in Nell’s life. She develops a crush on a boy named Sam Fitzpayne and there’s a lot of drama that comes along with that. The novel even touches on the struggles these sister’s go through of children in a broken home. Their parents divorced when they were quite young and we see that they split their time between two homes and deal with having a step mother come into their lives and the fact that their mother is dating. I felt like we just scratched the surface on all of this though, much like the taboo relationship of the story, I never got a real feel for how Nell felt or even what really happened with her and Sam. I think this could be due to how short the novel is. On my Kindle it clocked in at 158 pages and it really felt like I had read a novella, like I had only gotten a snapshot of a story. I have read many a short novel that have worked and packed their fair share of substance into very few pages but I just don’t think the same can be said about this one.

I did really enjoy reading this story, I loved the use of second person narrative and I really wanted to get to know Nell and Layla. I felt like we got the most development in the story when it came to Nell’s best friend, Felix. He was someone that I really enjoyed and I loved seeing what was going on in his home life and how he and Nell helped each other through so much. When it comes down to it though, I just wanted more.


3 Hot Espressos

12 Responses to “Review: We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt”

  1. Pili

    It’s a pity that the book seemed like it barely scratched the surface of the issues it dealt with… glad that you at least enjoyed it.
    I don’t think I’ll be picking this one up, even if the second person narrative is something that I find very intriguing.
    Thanks for the review Jenny!

  2. Leanna

    I’ve been intrigued by this book ever since I first saw it a while back. I was hoping for a better read than three hot espressos might suggest, but I still hope to check this one out some time soon!

  3. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    It’s interesting that just the fact that the book is written in the second person POV made you want to read it because that alone would make me run in the opposite direction!
    This sounds like an interesting read although it doesn’t seem that it’s all that deep. I’m especially curious about the bond between these two girls. This is the first I’m hearing of this, Jenni, but I should give it a shot.
    Lovely review!

  4. Meredith

    I haven’t read too many books that are written in the second person, so this one has caught my attention. I am also interested in reading about taboo relationships, but it’s a shame that the novel doesn’t truly focus on it. Great review!

  5. Michelle

    So, I was really looking forward to this review because I just picked the book up from the library a week ago and well it’s one of my most wanted TBR books of the year! I really want it to be good because I’ll be reading it soon! I’m glad to hear that you at least enjoyed it and liked the characters. I can’t wait! Great review!

  6. Maddy @ Symphony of Words

    Its amazing to see something being told in the second person and actually being successful. I’m sorry this was a short read because just by reading your review, I would have like to know more about all the familial relationships in this story. It’s beautiful to read about sisters and their love for a change, and though I dont think I’ll be picking this up due to its length, I’m happy you liked it 🙂

  7. Rashika

    Taboo relationships are always interesting to me but I am not sure I’d enjoy this one. I think one of my biggest issues is that I don’t mind taboo relationships so long as both participants are consenting adults but I am not sure that’s the case with Layla and Mr. B’s relationship. .-.

    It really is a pity that the book was short and was only able to scratch on the surface of quite a few issues :/

    Fantastic review, Jenni! 🙂

  8. Amanda

    I loved Felix too! I was surprised in the end at how much I enjoyed this one. I typically do want more too, but I was really ok with the ending and just letting it go. Great review.