Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: How We Lived by Erin Butler

By 7:39 AM , , , , ,

How We Lived
    by: Erin Butler

Publication Date: Apr. 28, 2014
Publisher: Entangled: Embrace
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Source: e-ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 200 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 4/5 stars

Nineteen-year-old Kelsey Larkin’s parents uninvited her to her brother’s funeral. She just wanted to wear jeans and a T-shirt—the clothes Kyle would’ve wanted her in—not wrap herself up in death. So she watched the funeral from afar, like an outsider. Which is just how she feels.

Chase came, though, just like she knew he would. Until a few months ago, the three of them had been best friends, and then Chase made a mistake that shattered both families. But when Kelsey looks at him, she doesn’t see her brother’s killer. She sees the boy next door who’s always taken care of her. She sees home.

When Chase tells her his feelings run deeper than friendship, she can’t help but get lost in him. In Chase, she finally has the closure she’s been unable to find anywhere else. But the boy she’s falling in love with is still hiding secrets about the night Kyle died. Secrets that could destroy everything they have…again.

I knew going in that this would be a very emotional read. I can't even imagine losing a loved one, let alone my own brother. I felt Erin did a beautiful job of bringing this story to life and conveying to readers that even in the darkest of times, there is still hope and the promise that it will get better.
Pacing: Extremely fast-paced. This was a shorter novel, so it didn't take long to get immersed in Kelsey and Chase's world and watch them fight for what they both want and need in their lives.
Storyline: Dealing with the loss of her brother and best friend, Kelsey is struggling to work through her grief. In the five months since, her life has spiraled downhill. Once a perfect student, Kelsey has failed her last semester at college and now has to take summer classes. She has witnessed her parents' marriage fall apart and now feels suffocated by the weight of grief that she has inside of her. The book begins with her and Chase, her brother's best friend and boy next door, finally reconnecting after five months of silence. Unfortunately, Chase is the boy who killed her brother. However, Kelsey can't deny that she misses him, as the three were inseparable as kids. He is there for her in ways that no one else can be and she finds herself gravitating towards him and the comfort that he offers. This obviously causes complications, as Kelsey's parents have forbidden her to see him and would freak if they only knew how much time she was spending with him. How We Lived touches on some very sensitive, but very real topics and I believe that makes this story such a good one. Every action has a consequence and sadly, accidents happen. Chase is a good person with a very big heart and he desperately wants to be the one Kelsey turns to and falls in love with, even after everything they've faced. I was surprised to hear Chase's account of that night and what really happened and was said before the accident. These revelations were heartbreaking to hear, and it really made sense why Chase is so passionate about his community outreach program he has started.
Characters: Kelsey and Chase's characters both really broke my heart. It was hard to watch them work through their grief and struggle to find their way to one another. This is a huge change in both of their lives and they are doing the best they can to work through it in their own ways.
Kelsey definitely frustrated me a bit, however. I realize she's going through a lot and her feelings are really all over the place, but I didn't like seeing her hurt Chase- even though it was unintentionally. I felt like she didn't know where she belonged and I hated that for her. She was trying to find comfort in Bear, another of their friends, and as sweet as he was, he just wasn't giving her what she truly needed. Only Chase could give that and she knew that she shouldn't be running to him. She has forgiven him, but doesn't stick up for him when he needs her to. That really hurts him more than anything because Chase already carries so much guilt over what happened. Even though she's forgiven him, until she shows him that she'll fight for him like he will for her, he knows it won't work between them.
Chase is such a good guy. He is holding on to so much more guilt than just being the one drinking and driving that night. He won't ever be able to truly give himself to Kelsey until he confesses everything that happened that night. His mom, however, knows everything and has been a really great support system for him. She was always close to Kyle and Kelsey, and the accident caused her to lose both of them, as Kelsey's parents have forbidden contact between the two families. Kelsey's parents have always felt Chase was a trouble maker and a bad influence on their kids. However, Chase has decided if Kelsey wants to be with him and see him, no one will get in the way of doing so.
Kelsey's parents aren't bad people, but they are grieving. Grief affects people in different ways and they are so angry over what happened that they don't see the things Chase is doing now or how much he is helping their daughter heal.
Final Thoughts: How We Lived is a beautiful story about loss, grief, forgiveness, love, and hope. We see two characters who were once inseparable find their way back to one another and fall in love despite what their family and friends think. It is through that love that they are able to find acceptance and peace and move forward in the future.

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  1. Oh wow this story sounds like it hurts--- which of course makes me want to read it all the more. I love complicated situations like this in my reads. I gotta add this to the TBR. Great review Jessica!

  2. I absolutely adore Kelsey and Chase. This was such a good story too, emotional and all. I'm glad you enjoyed this so much.

  3. Sounds like an incredible story, Jessica. I'm glad the author was able to do such a wonderful job of immersing in this story, since it was a shorter read. That's impressive. I'm adding this one to my tbr. Fabulous review!

  4. I absolutely love the sound of this book! Great review, I have the goosebumps :)

  5. I love when characters can break my heart. I know! That's horrible, but I love it! It shows the great depth and emotional aspect of the characters :D I really love the sound of the story line and what the characters must overcome. I think I will have to read this one!

    lovely review!!


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