Before, Brynn had a group of best friends, a loving boyfriend, a growing talent for pottery. She had a life. And after…she had none. When Brynn lost the boyfriend who never loved her, the friends who feel she betrayed their trust, and the new life just beginning to grow inside her, she believes her future is as empty as her body. But then Christian, the boy next door, starts coming around. Playing his guitar and pushing her to create art once more. She meets some new friends at the local community center, plus even gets her dad to look her in the eye again…sort of. But can Brynn open up her heart to truly find her life’s own beauty, when living for the after means letting go of the before? This is a Young Adult title.
Thank you to Netgalley and Entangled Publishing, LLC for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book.
Honestly, I could not help but feel for Brynn. There were times that I wished she made smarter choices, or was more open with her friends, but that's the beauty of Nyrae Dawn's writing - even though we may not agree with everything a character does, we can still understand why they did what they did and empathize with them. Brynn was already in such a vulnerable spot when she met the boyfriend who would ultimately betray her that it's understandable and forgivable for her to get involved with him. She ignored all the warning signs, but given her situation, it's easy to see why she would.
Christian was great! I loved how he was so confident and sure of himself. He was a really good influence on Brynn whenever she started to feel ashamed, guilty, or embarrassed around her old friends. Around him, she could be herself and to hell with what everyone else thought. He seemed to give her the strength she needed to work her way partially back to who she was before - someone who loved pottery, had a close relationship with her father, and had friends. And although I don't think she will ever be quite the same as she was, those were the things that made her truly happy before her tragedies.
While this isn't a really light, happy read, I think it is still very worthwhile in that it touches on some very serious subjects facing teens today (or even back in my day, so old people like me can relate, too!).