ARC: Then and Always by Dani Atkins

Posted on 05/14/2014 in Book Review / 2 Comments

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC: Then and Always by Dani AtkinsThen and Always by Dani Atkins
Published by Ballantine Books, Random House on May 20, 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Rachel Wiltshire has everything she’s ever wanted: a close group of friends, a handsome boyfriend, and acceptance to the journalism program at her top-choice college. But one fateful evening, tragedy tears her world apart. 
 
Five years later, Rachel returns home for the first time to celebrate her best friend’s wedding. Still coping with her grief, she can’t stop thinking about the bright future she almost had, if only that one night had gone differently. But when a sudden fall lands her in the hospital, Rachel wakes to find that her life has completely changed. Now she has her dream job as a writer and a stylish apartment, but the people she loves most are not the way she remembers them. Unable to trust her own recollections, Rachel tries to piece together what really happened, and not even she can predict the astonishing truth.

I loved this book. And then I hated it. I loved the premise, and I enjoyed the story right up until the end, when I was absolutely crushed and wanted to throw the book out the window.  I didn’t, since I was reading on my Nook (who is my preciousssssss and gets treated as such). Right before going off to university, Rachel and her tightly-knit group of friends are involved in a tragic accident, in which her best friend dies saving her life.  Afterward, she is not only physically scarred, but consumed with guilt and unable to get her life back on track. Her father is also very sick, and things seem to be about as bad as they can get. Five years later, she returns to her hometown for a wedding and is involved in another accident. She wakes up to discover nothing is as she remembered –  the first accident wasn’t the tragic, life-shattering event that destroyed her future, and she now has a fiancée and a successful career.  But Rachel has no recollection of this new life, and instead of trying to fit into it, she sets off to prove to everyone that she isn’t crazy, and that her old life really did exist. This book had a ‘Sliding Doors’ kind of vibe, and I am always intrigued by the thought of how one event or decision could completely change our lives. I liked the theme of getting a second chance, and I liked Rachel’s character. I did wonder why she was fighting so hard to prove that a reality existed where everything was so bleak and miserable, though. Then and Always by Dani Atkins was originally published in the UK under the title Fractured – which I actually think is a much catchier title.  This was a very quick read – I couldn’t wait to find out which reality was going to be the real one (what if it’s BOTH? Or NEITHER?), and then when I got to the end, I was just mad. Really, really mad.  A lot of people seem to think that the ending was perfect and wonderful, but for me, it ruined what was – and could have been – a really great book.

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Jessica’s addiction to books began at age 4, going on weekly trips to the library with her mom. After being a young fan of Sweet Valley High and The Baby-Sitters Club, she discovered the thrill of reading a book that made her want to leave the light on and check under the bed. Her all-time favorite author is Stephen King, but she will read just about anything! Jessica never leaves home without her e-reader, and considers it the best gift she ever received. Her other hobbies include running and going to Disney World as often as possible.

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