The Year After You - Nina de Pass

N.B. This review is spoiler-free! 
Pub date (UK paperback): 14/02/19

The moment I read the blurb for The Year After You by Nina de Pass I knew I had to read this book. So of course you can imagine my excitement when I was given and ARC of this book for free in exchange for an honest review! It's been a long time since a YA contemporary has hit me in the emotions quite as hard as The Year After You Did, and I loved every second of it. 

Nine months ago, New Year's Eve, there's a car accident in San Francisco. Cara survives, her best friend Georgina doesn't. 

Consumed by grief, Cara cuts herself off from the world and is struggling to stay afloat, so her mother decides to send her off to "exile" in Switzerland. Hope Hall is supposed to be the fresh start Cara needs to put the accident and Georgina's death behind her; no one here knows her story and she'd very much like to keep it that way. Her new friends, however, have a different idea. 

As Cara gets ever-closer to the enigmatic Hector, the one person who might truly understand her grief, and her roommate Ren, things start to chance. But can Cara embrace life at Hope Hall when she doesn't believe she deserves a second chance? 

This is going to sound a bit silly because this is a book about grief, but I really wasn't expecting it to be as emotional as it was. Cara is very cut off from the world, she pushes anyone and everyone away, and yet she is a very engaging narrator. Even when she doesn't directly admit how she's feeling, it translates so well through her perception of the world and herself. You get a unique insight into Cara's thoughts and guilt that is very unique to Cara as a narrator.

Much like Cara, the side-characters are well-rounded and engaging. Just like a lot of teens, they all have their own issues, especially Ren and Hector with their home-lives. You couldn't help but fall in love with them all as they tried to keep going despite the struggles they all had, and while trying to hold each other up. It's a book full of wonderful relationships between supportive teens that honestly really deserve a good hug. 

Despite the fact that The Year After You covers a lot of heavy topic and does focus on grief, it's still incredibly uplifting. There's a constant message that things do get better eventually, but not in a cheesy, sugar-coated way. As a reader, nothing is hidden from you; you see all of Cara's highs and lows. And yet it doesn't feel hopeless. You can see as Hope Hall slowly chips away at the negative thought spiral Cara is trapped in, and see how Cara pulls herself back out of the darkness. It's good to see a book that doesn't just show the happy ending after a tragedy, but the dark bits in the middle too. 

This book is a heavy one so it might not be for everyone, but if you love an emotional read with flawed but lovely characters, pick this one up! You will feel all the feelings and you will fall in love with these broken teens so fast I promise. The UK paperback publishes on 14th February 2019 and it's most definitely worth a pre-order; it's the latest to join my favourites shelf on Goodreads!

Rating: 5/5

Thank you to Ink Road Books for sending me this ARC for free in exchange for an honest review! 
What are some your favourite YA books that deal with heavy emotions? 

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