We Are the Goldens
by Dana Reinhardt
Category: Young Adult
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Page Count: 208
Format: e-bookSource: Netgalley (thank you!)
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 Nellayla. 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.
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Review: I do believe that this book was the first one that I was offered to read on Netgalley without asking to read it; I suppose the publisher sent me an invite to read it, and I thought that was pretty cool (I honestly did not even know that could happen on Netgalley until I received the message about this one). I read the synopsis and decided it sounded pretty cool, despite how dark the cover made it seem - I do tend to prefer my contemporaries on the light and fluffy side most of the time, after all. However, this one sounded a bit different than anything I had read, so I decided to give it a go.
I have picked it up three or four times since that day, and had a very difficult time getting through it. I really did want to like this book, and I wanted to be able to read through it quickly because it is quite short, I simply could not get into the writing style. I have read tons of reviews where other people thought that the writing style was great because it is rarely seen, and while I can definitely applaud the courage to try something new, I just did not enjoy actually reading it. It read as if our main character, Nell, is writing a letter to her older sister, Layla. The writing was not bad, per say, I just did not enjoy it myself.
I feel that there were a lot of subplots in this book that did not go anywhere as well. Some new piece of information would be thrown in; like the death of siblings or a new crush, and I could see that they were intended to explain certain aspects of the character's personality or cause the main character to grow, but neither of these things were actually achieved through these plot points. Instead, they would be talked about for a short amount of time, and then it would just fade away as if it had never been discussed to begin with. Nothing was done with it, and that really bothered me.
The one strong piece to this book was some of the characters. I did feel that Nell was a great, strong protagonist. I could feel the relationship she had with her sister, and I realized just how much she cared for her through her words and actions. She had a constant internal struggle between helping her sister and doing the right thing, and I thought that was handled incredibly well by the author. I also loved Nell's best friend, Felix. I love that we have a male best friend who is NOT trying to win the heart of the main character; they are simply platonic friends. Along with that, he was a real character with his own problems that Nell had to help him work through as well. They supported one another.
Unfortunately, we did not get nearly as much information or detail from Layla. I guess because all of it was seen through Nell's eyes, we don't even get too many details about Layla's relationship with their teacher, which is a pretty big part of the entire plot of the book. Sure, I know the specifics might not have been necessary to achieve what the author was trying, but some little parts or details would have been nice in order to make the relationship believable. I also found the open ending to be fairly disappointing and left a lot of things unanswered.
Overall, as you can probably tell, I was not overly impressed with this book like I had hoped to be. There are a ton of great reviews for it on Goodreads though, so I know that there is a chance that it was just not my style, but plenty of other people will like it. The writing style might be something you enjoy, even though I did not.
Rating: 2.0 / 5.0