Review – Things I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally

September 10, 2014 Reviews 4 ★★★★½

Review – Things I Can’t Forget by Miranda KenneallyThings I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #3
Also in this series: Catching Jordan
Published by Sourcebooks, Inc. on 5/3/13
Genres: Romance, Sports & Recreation, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Source: Library
My content rating: Very Mature YA (Sexual content, Mature subject matter)
My rating:
4.5 Stars

SOME RULES WERE MEANT TO BE BROKEN.

Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different...

This summer she's a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He's the first guy she ever kissed, and he's gone from geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt...with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn't that easy...

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My Take

I know I’m reviewing these books out of order. I actually did read them in order, but I wanted to get my review of Breathe, Annie, Breathe out closer to the release date, so I held onto a couple of the reviews for this series for a while.  But, of course, I don’t want to deprive you, my wonderful readers – so the review for this book and Racing Savannah are just coming a little later.  Anyway, on to the review …

Things I Can’t Forget is kind of a controversial book. It focuses heavily on religion, but strongly religious readers may not like the sexual content and some of the ideas presented – and readers who are just plain turned off by religious themes may not like it either. But, personally, I loved the themes that this book explored and it all rang very true to me, even if I didn’t always agree with everything that the main character, Kate, was thinking and feeling.  Let me tell you more …

What I LOVED:

  • Realistic soul searching. I felt like Kate’s journey was very real and something that many young Christians go through. When we are very young, our faith is often given to us (or, in the case of people who are raised in non-religious families, sometimes withheld from us). Children are taught what to believe and how to act on their faith (or lack thereof) – both with purposeful lessons and by observing their parents and others. But at some point, everyone needs to do some soul searching to determine if the faith that they were raised with is truly their own. In a lot of ways, this book is about Kate’s journey to do just that. She has always been taught that there is a certain way to live and that anyone who chooses not to live that way is somehow wrong or bad. She can sometimes be judgmental – and she acknowledges that. But the world is very black and white for her and it confuses and scares her when she starts to see shades of gray. When Kate goes against everything she believes in to help a friend, it throws her life into chaos – she is overwhelmed with a confusing mix of guilt and loyalty to her friend. She wants desperately for things to stay the same as they always were – but they can’t anymore. They change. And Kate doesn’t know exactly how to feel about any of it. Then Kate falls for Matt, a boy at the camp she’s attending. And suddenly she finds herself desiring someone in a way that she had always considered sinful. Suddenly her boundaries and her ideals are tested in ways that she never imagined and she finds herself more confused than ever. And honestly, in some ways, she fails – she judges others for their actions then goes ahead and does some of the same things she judges others for. Then gets confused and scared and wishes she hadn’t done those things (maybe – or maybe not) and hurts people and messes up some more. And in the end she learns that things might not be as black and white as she once thought.

The negatives:

  • Kate’s not perfect.  By a long shot. I’ve read some reviews out there and I know that some people just couldn’t handle how judgmental and self-righteous Kate is. And I get that. I do. But for me, the journey that Kate went on felt real – even when it was messy and Kate wasn’t perfect. She wasn’t just a mean girl bully, she was a girl struggling with her own identity and struggling to figure out how her ideals matched up with the rest of the world. She wanted to experience the loving non-judgmental side of her faith, but the waters were murky and there were no easy answers for her.

So, while I didn’t agree with everything that the main character did, and I didn’t even necessarily 100% agree with all of the conclusions that Kate drew at the end of the book. I still really felt like I loved the experience of reading it. Why? Because it made me think. It made me examine my own faith and ponder those questions that we all have sometimes – and think about the wrongs and the rights and the areas of gray. So this book was my highest rated of the series so far (Breathe, Annie, Breathe actually tied it) at 4.5/5 stars.

About the Author

Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes, and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband.

 




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4 Responses to “Review – Things I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally”

    • Nicole

      Yes, it’s good when you can disagree with a character and still enjoy the book – sometimes that happens and sometimes it just doesn’t.

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