Monday, June 13, 2016

Review: We Were Never Here by Jennifer Gilmore


In this exquisitely written, emotionally charged young adult debut, Jennifer Gilmore explores the bond that is formed between a hospitalized girl and the secretly troubled boy she falls in love with.

Did you know your entire life can change in an instant? 

For sixteen-year-old Lizzie Stoller that moment is when she collapses, out of the blue. The next thing she knows she’s in a hospital with an illness she’s never heard of. 

But that isn’t the only life-changing moment for Lizzie. The other is when Connor and his dog, Verlaine, walk into her hospital room. Lizzie has never connected with anyone the way she does with the handsome, teenage volunteer. However, the more time she spends with him, and the deeper in love she falls, the more she realizes that Connor has secrets and a deep pain of his own . . . and that while being with him has the power to make Lizzie forget about her illness, being with her might tear Connor apart.


Expected publication: June 14th 2016 by HarperTeen

Available: Amazon | The Book Depository (affiliate links)

My Review:

This book is one that has so many heartfelt issues in it, I wish I had written it myself. The pacing and Lizzie's voice keep the reader breathless in that feeling of teenage emotion, experiencing each moment with her as she learns of her diagnosis and meets this beautiful, unbelievable boy.

I love that this book has layers. There is, first, the immediate layer where Lizzie initially perceives everything that is taking place, but there is more below the surface with her and with Connor. Lizzie doesn't want to feel the pain of loss of what she has to give up because of her illness, so she stuff those emotions inside, opening up only for Connor, who seems to be a perfect, shining person to her when he spends time visiting her in the hospital.

But as she attains wellness, she learns that Connors has his own secrets and own sources of pain. The way it unfolds is very organic and at the same time (for me) quite surprising. I was so absorbed in just experiencing things with Lizzie that I wasn't even trying to do the critical reading thing and predict what I thought would happen, so certain events hit me almost as hard as they hit her.

I've seen others mentioned that they didn't feel a connection to either of the characters, but I think they were both displayed with depth and that their actions are very genuine for the things that they experience both together and separately. This is one book I won't forget for a while.

Source: Thanks to Goodreads and HarperTeen for providing a copy of this title through Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for a fair review.

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