Friday, November 7, 2014

Review of Bright Side by Kim Holden

Synopsis: Secrets. 
Everyone has one. 
Some are bigger than others. 
And when secrets are revealed, 
Some will heal you ... 
And some will end you. 

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks. 

They both feel it. 
But they each have a reason to fight it. 
They each have a secret. 

And when secrets are revealed, 
Some will heal you … 
And some will end you. 

5 Stars!

Review: How do you write about a book that feels like it might have just changed your life? I read some reviews, I listened to the other women in my book club tell me about their sob fests, runny noses, puffy eyes, etc, after reading this, and still...I wasn't prepared. Not every book ends with a happily ever after, and not every happily ever after is the same as what I think it should be. This book teaches you that life can most certainly suck you under, just like the tide of the ocean, or you can fight against that and live in a world where sunshine, rainbows, and possibly even unicorns, exist. 

This book opens with Kate, who has lived her whole life on the sunny shores of California, having just moved to Minnesota for college. She has one relative there, although you see very quickly that this person, her aunt, is not really going to be a great supporter of hers. Kate still feels blessed to be there, however, and she has her best friend, Gus, to talk to every day, as well as slowly making friends at her new college. 

You quickly learn that Kate lives by some very simple rules. She starts her day off with black coffee, she tries to befriend anyone that she feels like needs a friend, she will do for others even if they don't do anything for her, and she always tries to "Do Epic". In other words, she really sounds like the most down to earth, non-judgmental, best friend that you could have. Yet, you slowly begin to see that life, and others in her life, have not always returned the favor to Kate. 

She meets Keller Banks, and they both slowly learn one another's secrets - some are certainly more heartbreaking than others. I began to worry that I knew Kate's secret, at one point, but I then spent the rest of the book hoping that I didn't know the ending. I just really wasn't prepared for the end. I loved Kate so much, and I really loved spending each day in her head and seeing the world through her eyes. I'm sitting here beginning to cry right now, as I write this review, and my two year old is yelling "icey-keem" (ice cream), and my husband is asking me why I'm crying again, for the second day in a row. 

Kate never believed in love, and yet, she met Keller and couldn't not believe in love. That's not always the end of the story, though. Life happens after the end of the story, and Kate, Keller and Gus don't get the ending that I wanted them to get. I'm freakin' pissed, I'm sad, I'm inspired, I'm awestruck, and I just...I want to have that kind of worldview. Read this book. Don't cheat yourself. 


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