Every Time You Go Away by Abigail Johnson
Published: December 5th 2023 by Inkyard Press
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)
Genres: Young Adult // Contemporary, Romance
Quick Thoughts: A movie-like dream of young love, heartache and grief, all wrapped up in the delicateness of a flower.
I was gifted this book via the Publisher and will give it a fair and unbiased review. There was no obligation to post/give this book a certain rating. I remain entirely impartial.
About This Book:
Perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven, Abigail Johnson draws a searing and lyrical portrait of grief, forgiveness, and the kind of love that blooms in the aftermath.
Eight years ago, Ethan and Rebecca met, two trouble-making kids sharing secrets and first kisses in a treehouse, until Ethan’s mom returned to take him away. Each and every visit, his only goodbye was a flower on Rebecca’s windowsill.
Three years ago, Ethan left for the last time to take care of his mother, who’s struggled with addiction his whole life.
Two years ago, Rebecca was in a car accident that killed her father. She’s been learning to navigate life as a wheelchair user ever since.
Now, they discover if their hardships have torn them apart…or will bring them closer than ever.
No matter where I stray genre-wise, I always come back to my one true love: YA romances. Something about this being the last one I’ll read of the year filled me with lots of good thoughts of loving it and maybe finding another new favourite must-read author along the way (and when your book is blurbed by THE Lynn Painter, it comes with a high recommendation anyway, in my book…)
In present day, Rebecca (my name twin!) hasn’t seen Ethan in years, but the time they spent together when they were younger was a core, unforgettable memory. Rebecca came across as a character that felt deeply, that wanted to be the perfect child despite a certain feeling of not being good enough. Meanwhile, Ethan’s little world was crumbling before her and himself. With his mother’s uncertainty and frequent disappearances, he begins a friendship with Rebecca in the space between the bad and good. That summer they first met and connected set something raw and beautiful in stone that could never be replaced, spanning years and moments.
Told in split POVs and timelines, we’re with Rebecca through the accident that sees her become a wheelchair user, and with Ethan as he battles to keep his mother safe from her demons and dependency issues. Neither of them had anticipated the times his mother would send him to his grandparents house next door to Rebecca’s house would lead them to form such an emotional bond. But as soon as Ethan’s mom had time to gather herself again, she’d pick him up and he’d be gone, right when Rebecca was lowering her guard and letting someone in. The accident she was in killed her father, and now her relationship with her mother suffers, this crushing sort of pain that echoes through her voice in the story that’s so unflinchingly raw to read. But through these small blimps of being there for each other and reconnecting in present day, sparks fly like New Years Eve fireworks. But can they work this time around now they’re older with all that’s happened—if they both stay?
Overall, Every Time You Go Away was a movie-like dream of young love, heartache and grief, all wrapped up in the delicateness of a flower. There were lessons and strife, times of getting back up and trying again for Ethan and Rebecca. The sheer power of that connection between them was some of the most magnetic I’ve read in YA Romance. I adored how much they adored each other. As someone that has a disability and have used mobility aids, I was so pleased to see this reflected in the story. Once the book had enveloped me in a tight hold of comfort, there was no letting up until the last page was turned and I could breathe. This is my first book by Abigail, and it’s not going to be my last. One of the most stunning books I’ve read all year.
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