(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)Published by Entangled Teen on February 1st 2016
Haunted with guilt after his girlfriend's death, Daniel Hudson has no interest in committing to anyone. At the end of the summer, he'll be leaving Florida for a new start in college. If only he could avoid the mysterious new girl in town, who seems every bit as naive and eccentric as she looks. Trouble is, she's hard to ignore, with her beautiful piercing eyes, pitiful-looking dog, and unsettling tendency of finding trouble. Clover Scott lived her whole life off the grid and arrives on the Gulf coast in search of her grandparents. She never expected to nearly drown, or get caught in a hurricane, or fall in love with the boy who rescues her. Now, she has a chance to rewrite her life's story, to finally fit in somewhere, but Daniel wants answers about her past. When the police start asking questions about the disappearance of her parents, she must make a choice: go to jail or confess her secrets-even if they might destroy her chance at a happily-ever-after.
“…two more months before I headed to college and everything changed.”
I’ve never read a summer romance quite like this one. It’s been awhile since I nearly finished a book in one sitting. The only reason I stopped at around seventy percent with this book was because I could barely keep my eyes open. I devoured the rest of it the following morning and wished that I could exercise and read at the same time (if you’re wondering, it doesn’t work unless you’re on a treadmill). The Secret to Letting Go is a marvelous debut, one that I might start recommending to strangers in public, I loved it so much.
“I wanted to drive away…but I’d plucked her from the ocean, and now I felt somehow responsible. So, I’d follow her, make sure she was safe, and then be on my way. At least, that was my plan.”
I feel like a broken record talking about how much I enjoy novels with dual perspective, but I do. Told in chunks, kind of like parts, I met and had already established an opinion of Clover Scott through Daniel Hudson’s eyes before I got inside her head. I partially knew his motives and why he was helping the peculiar girl that cared about the people that no one seemed to notice when the book switched to Clover. Enthralling and distinctive, I could distinguish when Clover was telling the story or when Daniel led me on the journey. These characters, not just the narrators, captured my heart. Amelia, Daniel’s twin sister, was a friend that everyone wishes they had, and Sam, Daniel’s best friend, was a wonderful inclusion and became necessary to the story. I felt like I had traveled to Florida for the night, like I could feel the hurricane swirling around me at the beginning of the novel, and I felt the anguish and uncertainty portrayed through Clover. I empathized with Daniel and discovered the sadness laced in his words. There was also joy, though—the joy of first kisses and pleasant discoveries. My emotions were on high alert, this enigmatic story unrelenting until the last page.
Going to college and being in college are pivotal moments in young adult lives, and I loved the ages of the characters, as well. Being in college myself, I understood Daniel’s hesitation on the road ahead, what happens now that those friends he spent every day with won’t be around anymore. Change was an integral part of this story, and having the characters reach a climax in their lives, a time where going a different direction can change who they become, was perfect.
“No matter what else happened, time continued to pass, not waiting for fear or grief or memories.”
I started this book expecting something completely different than what I ended up reading. There was mystery and secrets, and I had to know what happened next. While there was a romance, one that I loved because of the innocence of it, the not knowing kept me flipping through the pages. The romance and the mystery played off of one another, giving to each aspect of the story instead of taking away.
This book deserves high praise. I literally couldn’t put it down and was insisting that I had to finish it before I could get on with my day. You’ll laugh, you’ll feel like crying—and might actually cry—and you’ll have chills. Most importantly, you’ll discover a peculiar girl and a broken boy that will steal your heart before you even know you were willing to give it to them.
“’If you believe everything they tell you in church, the good ones go to heaven.’…’What about the evil ones?’”