We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt
Published Wendy Lamb Books May 27 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format: I recieved an egalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in any way.
Buy this book: Amazon – Barnes & Noble 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 Nellaya. 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. First sentence: “There’s something I need to tell you.”
I came into this book expecting a totally different thing than I actually read, but it actually worked very well. This book deals with a rather heavy topic of student-teacher relationships. It was really unique though because it was told from Nell’s point of view to her sister, Layla, who is the one in the relationship with her teacher. It gives an outsider’s perspective on what was happening. I really liked how she was writing it to Layla and therefore used quite a bit of second person. It made the story more relatable and easier to understand as it unfolded. One thing I really enjoyed was how both Nell and Layla had lives outside of this one problem. Nell had other guy troubles and a best friend, Felix, who also had his own problems. The main point of the book was not this relationship. But when it came time for that, those scenes just blew it away. I loved how Nell wanted to comfort Layla through it but also had this internal conflict about how this was wrong, yet her sister seemed so happy. The younger-older sister relationship is also not normally seen, especially in this way, so that was really nice too. It is a provocative book for making the story seem like this because it also made me conflicted on what to do. Just like Nell, I was going through all the emotions because I cared for the two girls and their relationship just as they cared for each other. The ending was a little disappointing because I really wanted to see how the relationship played out after the big climax of the book hit. And when that little sentence hit (for those of you that have read the book, you know what I’m talking about) – I literally dropped my Kindle in shock. I freaked out. The book always carried this overall tone of something never being really okay and walking that line. It was so interesting to read and it really kept me hooked the entire way through. Like I said, I really wish the ending wasn’t as vague and we didn’t get a resolution in some things, but it worked overall. Overall, the heavy topic was handled really well. The writing was beautiful and the characters were so well fleshed out. I wished it was a little longer and that the student-teacher relationship origins would have been explained a little more, but this was a really interesting read.