A Life, Redefined by Tracy Hewitt Meyer
Book One in the Rowan Slone Series
Publisher: Cerulean Publishing
Publication Date: June 21, 2013
Seven years ago, an innocent act by Rowan Slone turned her life into a nightmare. Since the age of ten she’s lived with the burden of her baby brother’s death. Now she is seventeen and all she wants to do is graduate high school, go to college, and escape the loveless family she has endured all these years—the same family that holds her responsible for his death. But no one holds her responsible more than herself.When long-time crush Mike Anderson invites her to the Prom, suddenly her future looks brighter. Rowan’s younger sister, Trina, however, is determined to ruin her new-found happiness, no matter the cost. And when Rowan discovers her mother’s long-held secret, she finds herself teetering on the edge of an abyss. Can Rowan find the strength to move toward the future or is she doomed to dwell in the past?
A Life, Forward by Tracy Hewitt Meyer
Book Two in the Rowan Slone Series
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Cerulean Publishing
Publication Date: April 7, 2014
A New Adult Novel
Her father is gone. Her mother is in jail. And Rowan Slone has left her dysfunctional, violent past behind. With college looming on the horizon, she has a new job that she loves, and a safe place to call home. She is close to achieving everything she ever wanted-a sense of family, a sense of purpose, and a sense of self.But there are cracks in Rowan’s life that threaten to send her future crumbling to the ground. When her relationship begins to suffer, her father returns and her long-held secret is discovered, Rowan must find the courage to fight for the most important thing yet-herself.
Review: Ah, my beloved contemporary novels! I love them so much. I don't know why it is my favorite genre, but it has been for as long as I can remember. I guess I just like how easy it is to relate to them as they are so realistic, things that I could really go through (you know, if I was seventeen all over again or something...) I cannot say that I have read too many contemporary series, though. In fact, I would probably have to go back to my Read list on Goodreads and see if I had read any at all. I guess that is not too surprising though as most contemporary books are stand alone. I do love that this was created into a series, though. It's so easy to fall into Rowan's life, to want to know what happens next and how she is going to deal with it. While some contemporary novels might struggle to fit into a series, I believe that these books did so flawlessly (Obviously due to Ms. Tracy Meyer).
Rowan is a complicated character, but her family is far, far worse. Honestly, I could not believe how bad things got throughout the books. It seemed as if it could not get any worse for our protagonist, but then something else would happen. When things finally seemed like they were looking up, something else would fall apart for her. While it would be easy for this to seem excessive and unbelievable, it did not feel that way with this series. Meyer did a wonderful job of setting up the story (and the Slone family) in a way that makes it all completely believable. Her mother barely got out of bed due to depression, her father was a former military man turned prison guard who obviously has some physical tendencies, and her sister Trina obviously cares only about herself despite everything going on in their home. Why should she care? She isn't the one blamed for everything, Rowan is.
In book two, Rowan is living with her boyfriend, Mike's, family. Even though he is away at college, they realized just how bad her home life is, and they took her in, something that was quite kind of the. Once again, as it seems like things might start looking up again, disaster strikes. Mike never makes it back home because of his college soccer team, her father has left and has come back after he hit her, her mother his in jail for a horrible crime she tried to blame Rowan for, and Trina has spent plenty of time trying to make her sister miserable as well, and thinks that her sister should still want to be around. Add to that her best friend is pregnant by her thirty-year-old boyfriend, and things are pretty crazy. Whew!
I think that these books can give a very real look at life to teenagers; we see throughout the novel that Rowan struggles with cutting in order to deal with life and her emotions, and we know that there are teens out there (probably far more than we want to believe) that turn to self-harm when they do not know how to handle life and their issues. I think it is important to see that there are ways to work through things, even if it is not easy. I am glad that there is another book in the series, and I look forward to seeing what happens with Rowan next.
Tracy Hewitt Meyer is a multi-genre, multi-published author of new adult fiction as well as adult paranormal and contemporary romance. She has a B.A. in English and a Master of Social Work, both of which feed her true passion-a love of writing. Born and raised in the beautiful state of West Virginia, Tracy now lives in the mid-east with her family, a goldendoodle, and a bearded dragon.
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