ARC Review: The Year We Fell Apart

The Year We Fell Apart

Author: Emily Martin
Genre: YA, Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: January 26 2016
Source: Simon Pulse
Format: Paperback
Pages: 314
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Indigo
Kobo | iTunes | Book Depository

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ +

In the tradition of Sarah Dessen, this powerful debut novel is a compelling portrait of a young girl coping with her mother’s cancer as she figures out how to learn from—and fix—her past.

Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.

Now, after two semesters of silence, Declan is home from boarding school for the summer. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger…more handsome. Harper has changed, too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.

While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, and the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on. But he’s also the one person she’s lost the right to seek comfort from.

As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.

In this honest and affecting tale of friendship and first love, Emily Martin brings to vivid life the trials and struggles of high school and the ability to learn from past mistakes over the course of one steamy North Carolina summer.



*I received an advanced copy from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. All quotes taken from a pre-published copy may be altered or omitted from the final version.*

Opening Lines

“Sometimes I think the white oak tree was listening that night last August. That it knows about the promise we made to each other up in our treehouse. That it knows I kept only half of mine.”

I first came across The Year We Fell Apart on Goodreads back in November 2014 and instantly added it to my TBR on Goodreads. Yep, that’s how excited I was to get my hands on this book. While I was so excited for this to be released there was something in the synopsis that bothered me. I was not happy with the pitched of it being a Sarah Dessen type read. Why you may ask?
1) Sarah Dessen is one of my favourite authors ❤
2) That puts so much pressure on The Year We Fell Apart & Emily Martin
3) My expectations we’re set VERY high!
4) I feel like it deters from the book & author of being able to come into their own without being compared to someone else who’s been published longer.

That being said, words could not even explain how excited and giddy I was when I received my beautiful ARC in the mail! I did not read it right away as I knew that this book would make it onto my favourite reads list so I held out and saved it to start in 2016. I already know I’m going to struggle putting all my feelings into this review, there are not enough words to describe how wonderful this book was and how much I absolutely loved it!

The Good

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Emily Martin, what have you done to me? The Year We Fell Apart managed to rip my heart into a million pieces and by the end of it I was left slowly putting it back together. I read this in two sittings and actually ended staying up until 3:00AM in the morning to finish it. It was THAT good that I just could not put it down. Some may go into this thinking it’s mainly a contemporary romance, but it’s so much more! The synopsis does not do this justice of how Emily Martin created a masterpiece of showing the struggles and character growth with young adults.

Harper keeps making mistakes after epic mistakes, and the only way she can learn from them is to actually face them head on. What I loved the most about Harper’s character was the fact that she was far from perfect. Instead of dealing with the issues in her life she chose to be numb and run from her problems instead of facing them head on. How many of us have probably done that? Almost everyone! Her inability to deal with mistakes made her realistic and relatable. As much as she wishes, she can’t change the past. She can only start to make smart choices and change her future. However, it’s something easier said than done and Harper has to learn the hard way that sometimes more mistakes are needed to finally come out on top on the other end. I know some people will read this and find her character annoying with all her faults and the continuous mistakes but I felt that that’s what made Harper the perfect realistic character. Don’t get me wrong, there were so many moments that I just wanted to shake some sense into her and  scream for her to just communicate, but it was all worth it.

I loved how family and friendship we’re showcased, there was an equal balance of showing readers how important it is to have friends but also remember at the end of the day you always have family. Harper, Declan, and Cory we’re childhood best friends and what I loved the most was that Emily Martin didn’t create a love triangle. While Harper and Declan are no longer together and their friendship is hanging by a thread Cory is still supportive of each of them. That’s true friendship! I was rooting for Declan + Harper the whole time! He’s so mature and strong, he tried to be the bigger person and while it was clear he’s not over what happened between them he was still there for her. The build up of their past and present kept me at the edge of my seat! We get their past in flashbacks throughout certain scenes and it helps you understand their backstory.

Now while I loved the characters, the concept of friendship, self discovery, and character development, I have to say I was extremely in love with the writing style and outline of the story the most. From the minute you start reading The Year We Fell Apart you’re hooked, as time passes and each chapter starts and comes to an end you can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next, when will things start to finally work out for Harper + Declan. Then comes the last five or so chapters and then BAM! right in the feels! Everything comes out and emotions are running high!

The Bad / The In-Between

  • Nothing, zilch, zip, nada!!

Lastin Impression

Overall, Emily Martin created a beautiful realistic read that many young adults and even adults will be able to connect with. The Year We Fell Apart had well developed character growth, discovery, and life lessons that everyone could learn from. The storyline was wonderfully constructed with everything had a time and place. I’m not sure what else I can say to show you guys how much I loved this book and all the different emotions I felt. I hope I’ve managed to gush about this book enough for you guys to add it to your TBRs!

Until next time bibliophiles,


2 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Year We Fell Apart

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