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The People We Keep

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The People We Keep is about a young songwriter longing to find a home in the world. Little River, New York, 1994: April Sawicki is living in a motorless motorhome that her father won in a poker game. Failing out of school, picking up shifts at Margo’s diner, she’s left fending for herself in a town where she’s never quite felt at home. When she “borrows” her neighbor’s car The People We Keep is about a young songwriter longing to find a home in the world. Little River, New York, 1994: April Sawicki is living in a motorless motorhome that her father won in a poker game. Failing out of school, picking up shifts at Margo’s diner, she’s left fending for herself in a town where she’s never quite felt at home. When she “borrows” her neighbor’s car to perform at an open mic night, she realizes her life could be much bigger than where she came from. After a fight with her dad, April packs her stuff and leaves for good, setting off on a journey to find a life that’s all hers. As April moves through the world, meeting people who feel like home, she chronicles her life in the songs she writes and discovers that where she came from doesn’t dictate who she has to be. This lyrical, unflinching tale is for anyone who has ever yearned for the fierce power of found family or to grasp the profound beauty of choosing to belong.


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The People We Keep is about a young songwriter longing to find a home in the world. Little River, New York, 1994: April Sawicki is living in a motorless motorhome that her father won in a poker game. Failing out of school, picking up shifts at Margo’s diner, she’s left fending for herself in a town where she’s never quite felt at home. When she “borrows” her neighbor’s car The People We Keep is about a young songwriter longing to find a home in the world. Little River, New York, 1994: April Sawicki is living in a motorless motorhome that her father won in a poker game. Failing out of school, picking up shifts at Margo’s diner, she’s left fending for herself in a town where she’s never quite felt at home. When she “borrows” her neighbor’s car to perform at an open mic night, she realizes her life could be much bigger than where she came from. After a fight with her dad, April packs her stuff and leaves for good, setting off on a journey to find a life that’s all hers. As April moves through the world, meeting people who feel like home, she chronicles her life in the songs she writes and discovers that where she came from doesn’t dictate who she has to be. This lyrical, unflinching tale is for anyone who has ever yearned for the fierce power of found family or to grasp the profound beauty of choosing to belong.

30 review for The People We Keep

  1. 5 out of 5

    Allison Larkin

    This is my new book, written under my full name. It's been something I've been working on for a long time and I put my whole heart into it. I hope you enjoy! This is my new book, written under my full name. It's been something I've been working on for a long time and I put my whole heart into it. I hope you enjoy!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jayme

    This book will tug at your heart strings! ❤️‍🩹 But, I loved it! It reminded me of that wonderful poem that reminds us that we have three types of friends in life: Those for a Reason-Those for a Season-and Those for a Lifetime. and, how you can’t always tell which category a person will end up in. April Sawicki’s mother was the first to leave her. Now, at 16 years old, she is living in a motorless motorhome that her father won in a Poker game, while he lives with his new girlfriend and her son. He dr This book will tug at your heart strings! ❤️‍🩹 But, I loved it! It reminded me of that wonderful poem that reminds us that we have three types of friends in life: Those for a Reason-Those for a Season-and Those for a Lifetime. and, how you can’t always tell which category a person will end up in. April Sawicki’s mother was the first to leave her. Now, at 16 years old, she is living in a motorless motorhome that her father won in a Poker game, while he lives with his new girlfriend and her son. He drops by on occasion. So April has never been taught to STAY when things get tough-only how to LEAVE. After a fight with her Dad, April says goodbye to the only constant in her life-Margot-her father’s ex girlfriend and the owner of the local diner, where April feels most at home. She moves from town to town, sleeping in the car she stole from her Dad, until she finally gets a job in a Coffee Shop in Ithaca. BROKEN people can recognize other BROKEN people, and she will meet her share of those willing to help-but she doesn’t always know how to accept it. Your heart will break for her, as just when you think she may have found a place to call home, she takes off, running scared again…choosing a life of playing gigs at Open Mic nights, leaving behind people she has started to care about, and who may have genuinely started to care about her. Will she ever recognize the people who want to be there for a lifetime? This book is labeled as New Adult, and while it is about a teen having to become self reliant way too soon-don’t let the label stop you from reading this! If you do, you will be missing out on a book which does more to reaffirm our faith in humanity than it does to take it away….and can’t we all use a little of that right about now?! Another buddy read with DeAnn! Be sure to check out her wonderful review as well! NOW Available from Gallery Books Thank you to the Publisher for providing a gifted copy through NetGalley. It was my pleasure to offer a candid review!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! Oh, April, she is living her sweet sixteen in the worst way possible, trapped in motorless motorhome which was won on poker game, abandoned by her mother at young age and now her father leaves him alone to become part of another family with a woman who is a few year older than her. She is dropped from high school because she has more important things to solve mathematical equations: she has to chase the open mic nights by stealing neighbor’s car, working her ass of for I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! Oh, April, she is living her sweet sixteen in the worst way possible, trapped in motorless motorhome which was won on poker game, abandoned by her mother at young age and now her father leaves him alone to become part of another family with a woman who is a few year older than her. She is dropped from high school because she has more important things to solve mathematical equations: she has to chase the open mic nights by stealing neighbor’s car, working her ass of for extra shifts at Margo’s diner and applying for special singing gigs at the bars! Her boyfriend Matty’s family thinks she’s not good enough for their boy. And Matty plans to stay in this small town, marrying with her. But after singing in front of the crowd, April feels the power of spotlight. She’s too young to be rotten in this town. After her father’s decision to marry with Irene who is carrying his baby and his abusive, neglecting manners around her: she says enough is enough: stealing the car his father bought for Irene, packing everything she has, leaving her only valuable possession behind: her guitar because his father broke it to teach her a lesson. She hits the road without thinking any intention to return back! She finds herself in Ithaca to start over: where new life and her bumpy journey starts here. She starves, sleeping in her car, taking shower at the campsite till her body freezes, changing plates of her car not to be caught by officers, sharpening her skills to make fake ID, homeless, trying to find a job, a place to settle, forming friendships. She wants to become someone people care, someone not expendable, someone not neglected! But firstly she wants to learn how to trust people! But unfortunately her long journey is just starting. She gotta learn a lot… she has to rediscover her true self, learning to be brave, reading more about people. She meets with amazing people. But she also meets with cunning, selfish, untrustworthy ones, too! She falls in love, she writes amazing songs about small lives of people, regular lives with big words, she cries at the shower, she gives up, she f*ck up so bad, she leaves, she is left behind, she gives up, she starts again, she hurts, she suffers, she stumbles, she falls but eventually she gets up on her feet and she keeps driving till she finds out home is not the place she chose to live, it’s the place where family she chose lives. And now she slowly creates her own family by touching other people’s lives who contributed her adventurous somewhat tragic somewhat tough and testing journey! I think I could read this book for days. Each chapter was written so genuinely. I felt like I’m so close to April and I easily connected with her friends she’s made throughout this long road trips. It was so engrossing, realistic. I felt like I read true life passages of our daily lives. I loved this journey a lot. I loved April, Margot, Carly, Ethan, Adam so much. I think instead of immature, self oriented douchebag Justin and April’s neglectful father, I loved each of the characters( even Matt, Irene) I think I don’t have enough vocabulary to express how much I loved this book. Don’t miss this out! Don’t just add to your tbr! It’s too good to skip or to be forgotten on reading list! Just read it! Read it and reread it! One of the best fiction books of the year! Special thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books for sharing this amazing digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    Allison Larkin's upcoming novel, The People We Keep , is a beautiful, emotional, hopeful look at the impact people have on our lives even for a short time, and the impact we can have on theirs. I’ve learned that when my friend Lindsay raves about a book on my TBR, I need to drop everything and read it. That certainly was the case with this book, which broke me and put me back together, left me with smiles and with tears. “I say that it’s amazing how much you can miss people you only got to be w Allison Larkin's upcoming novel, The People We Keep , is a beautiful, emotional, hopeful look at the impact people have on our lives even for a short time, and the impact we can have on theirs. I’ve learned that when my friend Lindsay raves about a book on my TBR, I need to drop everything and read it. That certainly was the case with this book, which broke me and put me back together, left me with smiles and with tears. “I say that it’s amazing how much you can miss people you only got to be with for one tiny little perfect bit of time; how a place where you barely got to live can be the closest thing you’ve ever had to home.” April is 16 years old and living alone in a dilapidated motor home in upstate New York, since her father moved in with a woman and her young son. She finds joy in playing the guitar, singing, and writing songs, and when she sneaks into a club to perform one night, she is hooked. After a bad fight with her father, she leaves town, taking his car and driving with no destination in mind. She winds up in Ithaca, lonely and desperate to find a connection, when she stumbles upon a cafe. It is there she makes friends who change her, but she never fully allows herself to enjoy what her life has transformed into, so she leaves before they can hurt her. The book follows April’s journey over three years, traveling the East Coast, making connections but always leaving just before they stick, in an effort to protect herself (so she thinks) and those around her. But a few major events show her just what an impact she’s had on people, and makes her realize she needs to trust in those who care about her. Although it started a little slowly, The People We Keep hooked me completely and wouldn’t let me go until I finished. It’s a powerful and poignant book that made me think of those who have drifted in and out of my life through the years, and what an impact they’ve left. I really loved this. The People We Keep publishes 8/3! Check out my list of the best books I read in 2020 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2020.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Angela M

    She’s abandoned at age six by her mother and left most of the time to fend for herself in a beat up motor home without a motor, by her father who is making a life for himself without her . Sixteen year old April Sawicki is desperately searching for something better than the life she has, desperately wanting to matter to someone. She takes to the road alone with her voice and songs with a few trash bags of things in a stolen car. I feared for her and hoped for her as she journeys from place to pl She’s abandoned at age six by her mother and left most of the time to fend for herself in a beat up motor home without a motor, by her father who is making a life for himself without her . Sixteen year old April Sawicki is desperately searching for something better than the life she has, desperately wanting to matter to someone. She takes to the road alone with her voice and songs with a few trash bags of things in a stolen car. I feared for her and hoped for her as she journeys from place to place. When she settles in Ithaca, NY for a while she finds friendship and experiences what it’s like to love and be loved, but she can’t stay. Three years later, she is still on the road, alone, playing a gig and then leaving for another, sometimes returning, but never staying. This is an emotional story. Sometimes a story gives me that lump in my throat and sometimes a story can immediately bring tears. It was the latter for me at times and especially in the last chapters because sometimes a character makes you want so much for them to be happy. One can only hope that any teenage runaway will have a Margo in their lives or be fortunate enough to find true friends like Carly and Ethan, people who they matter to. Readers can only hope for characters like these who matter to them. I received a copy of this book from Simon & Schuster through Edelweiss.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Audiobook…. narrated by Julia Whelan …..11 hours and 8 minutes Julia Whelan was made to read this book —she ‘enhanced’ this irresistible novel. It was hard to resist. I was drawn into this offbeat world — Allison Larkin, chronicles protagonist, April Sawick’s colorful ‘coming-of-age’ travails, from her disjointed tender adolescents years - her disjointed family and beyond. Along the way, April discovers absurdities, self-acceptance, and authentic relationship connections. “The People We Keep” wa Audiobook…. narrated by Julia Whelan …..11 hours and 8 minutes Julia Whelan was made to read this book —she ‘enhanced’ this irresistible novel. It was hard to resist. I was drawn into this offbeat world — Allison Larkin, chronicles protagonist, April Sawick’s colorful ‘coming-of-age’ travails, from her disjointed tender adolescents years - her disjointed family and beyond. Along the way, April discovers absurdities, self-acceptance, and authentic relationship connections. “The People We Keep” was appealingly idiosyncratic … filled with humor, wisdom, a little swooning, the pitfalls of relationships, closeness…. and the truth and power of love and belonging. Heartfelt, messy, totally endearing! K I S S I N G….🎶 First comes love Then comes marriage Then comes baby In the baby carriage. 🎶

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I loved everything about The People We Keep, beginning with the narrator, April Sawicki, who is both wise beyond her years and unbelievably naive, to the fact it’s 1994 and no one has a cell phone. Allison Larkin has given us a heroine who is raw and real, a young person capable of breaking your heart one moment and lifting it up the next.

  8. 5 out of 5

    DeAnn

    5 heartwarming stars This book was a wonderful surprise! I really connected with the main character, April Sawicki, and my heart broke for her several times throughout the book. I rooted for her to finally find her “family” and stay put and find the people to keep. April really had some tough cards dealt to her, abandoned at an early age by her mother and later by her father, she’s essentially living on her own at 16 in a ramshackle motorhome. Her closest friend is the owner of Margo’s Diner, one 5 heartwarming stars This book was a wonderful surprise! I really connected with the main character, April Sawicki, and my heart broke for her several times throughout the book. I rooted for her to finally find her “family” and stay put and find the people to keep. April really had some tough cards dealt to her, abandoned at an early age by her mother and later by her father, she’s essentially living on her own at 16 in a ramshackle motorhome. Her closest friend is the owner of Margo’s Diner, one of her dad’s old girlfriends. She does have her music and she’s an amazing songwriter. Fed up with her father and the small town of Little River, New York, she hits the road in a “borrowed” car. She lands in Ithaca and finds a coffeeshop job and begins to make friends and play some gigs. She really settles in, but then life throws her another curve ball, and she decides to skip town again, leaving all her new friends behind. April has a vagabond lifestyle, knowing which coffee shops and bars will host her for an evening or two and then she moves on again, never really setting down roots. Her music really takes off though and she’s able to make a living. She is still searching for her people, but restless enough to keep moving. This one does have a heartwarming ending that mostly healed my broken heart! It was fun to read the lyrics to her songs in the book and imagine the soundtrack. It made for a fantastic buddy read and I’m so glad that Jayme suggested it! Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for the early copy of this one to read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    Review to be posted to blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... 5 Resounding Stars for this beautifully written, heartfelt novel. A coming of age, character-driven novel with a whole lot of soul, “The People We Keep” by Allison Larkin is a novel that resonated deep within my heart. The premise is one that I know and know well: Struggle, survival, trials, and tribulations. Making lemonade out of lemons and of course, my very favorite, the idea that sometimes family isn’t the one you’re born w Review to be posted to blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... 5 Resounding Stars for this beautifully written, heartfelt novel. A coming of age, character-driven novel with a whole lot of soul, “The People We Keep” by Allison Larkin is a novel that resonated deep within my heart. The premise is one that I know and know well: Struggle, survival, trials, and tribulations. Making lemonade out of lemons and of course, my very favorite, the idea that sometimes family isn’t the one you’re born with, but the one you choose for yourself. April is a girl who drew the short straw and then some. Her mom left and her dad has all but abandoned her. She could have given up a million times, yet that isn’t in her nature. Instead, she packs her bags in search of a place to call home. In doing so, she finds so much more. Full of friendship, love, and life lessons, this novel teaches you that when life gets tough, not only can you survive, you can thrive, and you can find your tribe along the way. An incredibly heart-wrenching read that will definitely go on my Goodreads-Best-of-List for 2021. If this isn't on your radar... it should be. That is all. A huge thank you goes out to Gallery Books via NetGalley for the arc.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Em Lost In Books

    So boring.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    It’s amazing how much you can miss people you only got to be with for one tiny little perfect bit of time; how a place where you barely got to live can be the closest thing you’ve ever had to home. I was completely prepared to come here and say I didn’t love this as much as all my friends did. And while that may be sorta true since I’m giving it 4 Stars and they gave it 5, it still made me well up like a big fat baby at the end. I’m going to go ahead and blame it on this, though . . . . T It’s amazing how much you can miss people you only got to be with for one tiny little perfect bit of time; how a place where you barely got to live can be the closest thing you’ve ever had to home. I was completely prepared to come here and say I didn’t love this as much as all my friends did. And while that may be sorta true since I’m giving it 4 Stars and they gave it 5, it still made me well up like a big fat baby at the end. I’m going to go ahead and blame it on this, though . . . . This is the story of sixteen year old April whose mother left when she was just a wee one and whose daddy left her pretty much to fend for herself in a broke down motorhome while he went chasing after some strange. When April and dear old dad have a knock down drag out, she packs her things, steals future stepmommy’s car and hits the road. Over the course of the next few years April lives a bit of a vagabond lifestyle, always attempting to keep at arms’ length and never getting too close to others – all the while discovering the people she will keep. This one wasn’t perfect for me but boy oh boy did I love the 1994 jumping off point. The first “fancy” coffee shops, flannel, grunge music – oh the memories! The timehop threw me for a loop and I’m not a big fan of jumps strategically placed to gloss over fairly important details like was the case here (sorry, it comes off a bit lazy), but by the time things wrapped up I was getting Where the Heart Is nostalgia and that is never a bad thing.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Meagan (Meagansbookclub)

    Absolutely beautiful “coming-of-age” story that I won’t forget about for a long long time! Wow, the ending had me in tears, and that doesn’t happen very often for me! You might love this book too if you love reading tender stories that have a surprising amount of depth. I felt uplifted at the end and I couldn’t stop rooting for April.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

    Holy shit. Welcome to my new favorite book. I'm going to try to put into words what this book means to me...but words seem hard right now. It's just been a minute since I fell this hard for a book and its characters. I've just finished reading this masterpiece; my mascara is running down my face and my eyes are puffy from sobbing. This book was everything to me. F...this book was so lonely. I am not sure if I've ever met a character as lonely as my beloved April. I fell so in love with her, almost i Holy shit. Welcome to my new favorite book. I'm going to try to put into words what this book means to me...but words seem hard right now. It's just been a minute since I fell this hard for a book and its characters. I've just finished reading this masterpiece; my mascara is running down my face and my eyes are puffy from sobbing. This book was everything to me. F...this book was so lonely. I am not sure if I've ever met a character as lonely as my beloved April. I fell so in love with her, almost immediately, and with all the people in her life. I am truly at a loss for how to review this book. I am also at a loss with how to go on without this book in my life. Cue the major book hangover and my utter despair for being done with this book. The biggest thank you ever to Gallery Books and NetGalley for blessing my life with a copy of this ARC. And an even bigger thank you to Allison Larkin for writing this truly beautiful story.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brandie

    This book, wow.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I don't mean to be rude, but I found this story somehow both boring and exhausting I don't mean to be rude, but I found this story somehow both boring and exhausting

  16. 4 out of 5

    Val

    I loved this book. An amazing character driven story that examines the life of April, who was essentially left on her own from age 12 on after her Mother left and her father moved on without her to start another family. “I wonder if maybe all you do is meet people and lose them and your smile fades the further you go because you have to carry the space they leave.” The exploration of the future effects of her childhood is so engaging and heartbreaking. Never able to fully trust, fully accept herse I loved this book. An amazing character driven story that examines the life of April, who was essentially left on her own from age 12 on after her Mother left and her father moved on without her to start another family. “I wonder if maybe all you do is meet people and lose them and your smile fades the further you go because you have to carry the space they leave.” The exploration of the future effects of her childhood is so engaging and heartbreaking. Never able to fully trust, fully accept herself or fully feel loved - she is nomadic and unable to rest in one place for too long. Along her journey she meets people who expand her heart and her understanding of family as the people we choose, not necessarily the ones who are related by blood. So many times during this read I wanted to touch April’s arm and whisper in her ear, “stop running away from everything good, you DO deserve it.” Can’t wait to see what @allielarkinwrites has next for us.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Kyle

    3.5 Stars ⭐️

  18. 5 out of 5

    Whitney Erwin

    I loved this one!! I chose this as one of my BOTM picks a few months back because it sounded good and I’m glad I did! The storyline was great, sucked you right in from the beginning and kept you hooked the whole time.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Loved the writing style, was not a fan of the plot’s inability to see a story through to the end and explore it deeply, hated the glorification of relationships with massive age gaps at a young age, especially considering that one of them was literally pedophilia. Do I think the author intended to do that last part? No. Do I think she should have sat down and thought about the connotations of her writing at some point between first draft and publication? A thousand times yes.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Strawser

    It's hard to find the right words to capture how much I loved this book. Within a few short pages, Allison Larkin had me entranced by the voice of her young, resourceful heroine, April—a 16-year-old singer-songwriter who has been all but abandoned by her parents and sets out on her own to find something better: A gig in a coffeeshop, a less depressing town, a warmer place to spend the night, or maybe just a real, true friend. On the road, never in one place for long, we hang on her every note pl It's hard to find the right words to capture how much I loved this book. Within a few short pages, Allison Larkin had me entranced by the voice of her young, resourceful heroine, April—a 16-year-old singer-songwriter who has been all but abandoned by her parents and sets out on her own to find something better: A gig in a coffeeshop, a less depressing town, a warmer place to spend the night, or maybe just a real, true friend. On the road, never in one place for long, we hang on her every note played as she finds and loses it all, time and again. There's something heartbreakingly authentic about April: The way she sees the world, and moves through it, and understands how most people are just doing their best—even when they're letting her down. As she keeps pushing forward, head as high as she can hold it, she learns what she's really made of, and so do we. She's not a character you'll soon forget. Put this on your must-read list for 2021: It's sure to be one of my favorites of the whole year. (With heartfelt thanks to Netgalley for an early review copy.)

  21. 4 out of 5

    MicheleReader

    Set in the 1990’s, we meet April when she is 16 years old and living in a small town in New York State. Her mother left the family long ago and her father has left April to fend for herself in his motor-less motorhome while he moves in with his girlfriend and her son. April's boyfriend Matty talks of marriage offering a future she has no interest in. Margo, an ex-girlfriend of her father, serves as a surrogate mother. Her only true solace is her music – she sings, plays guitar and writes her own Set in the 1990’s, we meet April when she is 16 years old and living in a small town in New York State. Her mother left the family long ago and her father has left April to fend for herself in his motor-less motorhome while he moves in with his girlfriend and her son. April's boyfriend Matty talks of marriage offering a future she has no interest in. Margo, an ex-girlfriend of her father, serves as a surrogate mother. Her only true solace is her music – she sings, plays guitar and writes her own songs, which document her difficult life. When life gets too unbearable, she flees, heading to Ithaca, which starts her on a difficult road where she tries to not only survive but perform her music. Throughout her short and long stays in different places across the country, she meets a range of kind and not-so-kind people. The People We Keep is a book that grabbed me by the heart. Author Allison Larkin takes us along with April on her journey and the people she meets along the way. It is a beautiful story that will bring out the tears while rooting for this young woman who has lost a lot yet through new and old friends, has amassed more than she realizes in her search for home. Rated 4.25 stars.

  22. 5 out of 5

    emily • emilybookedup

    a good, quick read that teaches you a lot of important lessons and themes about life and humanity and just people in general. not a lot “happens” in this book as it’s just a coming of age story about a girl who leaves home when she’s 16 and tries to survive out on her own. but, this one will definitely give you the feels 🥺❤️ full review to come on my instagram!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Belle

    One of my top 5 books of August! 😍

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christy Petersen Holloway

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. So I really liked this until the last 75 pages or so....April gets pregnant and all the sudden her life is about her baby and the redemptive power of mother hood. Are you frickin' kidding me? Have a baby and then claim "everyone failed me, but I wont fail you baby!" What a trite and ridiculous ending! So I really liked this until the last 75 pages or so....April gets pregnant and all the sudden her life is about her baby and the redemptive power of mother hood. Are you frickin' kidding me? Have a baby and then claim "everyone failed me, but I wont fail you baby!" What a trite and ridiculous ending!

  25. 5 out of 5

    ocelia

    tried its best

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tinichix (nicole)

    I listened to this on audio and it was narrated by one of the narrators I enjoy most. She is perfect for this kind of book and character. I feel like she enhanced my experience and actually made it better on audio, which isn’t usually the case. It’s kind of ironic because I had the physical book and decided to do it on audio to get to it sooner and I think in this case it ended up being the better of the two options for me. I haven’t been writing many in depth detailed reviews lately but I wante I listened to this on audio and it was narrated by one of the narrators I enjoy most. She is perfect for this kind of book and character. I feel like she enhanced my experience and actually made it better on audio, which isn’t usually the case. It’s kind of ironic because I had the physical book and decided to do it on audio to get to it sooner and I think in this case it ended up being the better of the two options for me. I haven’t been writing many in depth detailed reviews lately but I wanted to take a little more time on this one. I LOVED this book. What a pleasant surprise. I knew I wanted to experience it based on the synopsis but I didn’t realize I was going to love it this much. It was for sure not what I was totally expecting, but in a good way. Some parts of the plot surprised me, but not necessarily in a bad way either. I really felt some parts on a deep emotional level. To me that’s a good indicator of great writing. I enjoyed it for so many reasons, the plot, the characters, and the way it made me feel, to name just a few. I was truly sad when I was done with it. I wish I had taken better note of the exact quote or where it was in the book because I’m not sure I have it 100% correct but was one of my favorite takeaways from this book. It posed a question along the lines of ‘Do you become like someone because you like and admire them, or are you like someone and then in turn you end up admiring them.’ This book was a great fit for me and has been one of my favorites of 2021 so far!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kari Ann Sweeney

    I read this in a day- curled up on the porch on a rainy, “let the to-do list wait” Sunday. It was the right book at the right time. I loved it. The writing was lyrical and engaging and the story was layered and emotional. I was invested in the main character, April, from page one. She’s resilient yet a little naïve. She is gutsy but vulnerable. Her journey broke my heart and put it back together again and again. Watching her learn to trust and love (herself and others) while building a found fa I read this in a day- curled up on the porch on a rainy, “let the to-do list wait” Sunday. It was the right book at the right time. I loved it. The writing was lyrical and engaging and the story was layered and emotional. I was invested in the main character, April, from page one. She’s resilient yet a little naïve. She is gutsy but vulnerable. Her journey broke my heart and put it back together again and again. Watching her learn to trust and love (herself and others) while building a found family had me transfixed. I also loved the time period – 1994. I was around the same age as April during that time. Apart from the coming-of-age components, my story is nothing like hers. But all the other elements were vibrant. I found comfort in the nostalgia.

  28. 5 out of 5

    ʚϊɞ Shelley's ʚϊɞ Book Nook

    We have people we get to keep, who won’t ever let us go. And that’s the most important part. That’s what’s true. This book broke my heart in so many ways, it was sad...yet hopeful. The songs April wrote read like poetry and they were SO beautiful. I connected to April so deeply, even though she is so very flawed. I didn't want her story to end but since it had to I wanted her to have her happy ending, I wanted to cheer her on and see her shine. I was totally invested in her thro We have people we get to keep, who won’t ever let us go. And that’s the most important part. That’s what’s true. This book broke my heart in so many ways, it was sad...yet hopeful. The songs April wrote read like poetry and they were SO beautiful. I connected to April so deeply, even though she is so very flawed. I didn't want her story to end but since it had to I wanted her to have her happy ending, I wanted to cheer her on and see her shine. I was totally invested in her throughout the entire book. I read this in one sitting and it is just that kind of book...the kind that that makes you want to curl up and read right away from beginning to end. I was so pleased with Ms. Larkin's ability to write such an engaging, real-life, entertaining, phenomenal story. I adored this book. Easily one of my favourite books of recent times that I’m recommending to all my friends. This wonderful, lyrical story reminds that love, and family (even those who aren't related by blood) are worth the effort...and we ourselves are worthy too. Disclosure: Thank you NetGalley, Allison Larkin and Gallery Books for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an impartial review; all opinions are my own. #NetGalley

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)

    Sweet and tender and charming, but not in a treacly way. Also a little bit sad, but only in that hopeful way young people have of being sad, because they feel like they have the rest of their lives to make things right.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Bertsche

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3.5 stars for me. A good read, but for some reason this one just didn’t do it for me. April, a gritty lost soul, searches for her place in the world after running away from home at the age of 16 in 1994. With an ever-changing backdrop, the story follows her escapades up and down the eastern seaboard … in some ways the bits and pieces of her life were teed up to be heartwarming, but to me it came off as a disjointed collection of really sad circumstances. April is forced to navigate some really sh 3.5 stars for me. A good read, but for some reason this one just didn’t do it for me. April, a gritty lost soul, searches for her place in the world after running away from home at the age of 16 in 1994. With an ever-changing backdrop, the story follows her escapades up and down the eastern seaboard … in some ways the bits and pieces of her life were teed up to be heartwarming, but to me it came off as a disjointed collection of really sad circumstances. April is forced to navigate some really sh*tty situations for a teenager, and shows some growth and maturity with the bonds she builds around, well, the people she keeps. But going into part 2 and beyond, I felt like her growth and the story itself stagnated. April continues to put her faith in the wrong people and turn her back on the right ones, pushing forward with a cynical and self deprecating world view. I found myself pushing through the last 50 pages to finish because the plot turn had me rolling my eyes. *********spoiler alert********* WHY did she have to have a BABY at age 19, with the literal worst love interest she had, in order to bring back the pieces of her life that she let fall away?? The ending felt SO deus ex machina, with the hand of god putting her in a situation that forced reconciliation. Aside from the ending, there were some strong plot moments and really nice writing- I did find myself dog-earring multiple pages to revisit a particularly lovely phrase. The way that Larkin writes about April’s relationship with music, and the lyrics she ascribes fo moments or events was a bright spot in this book for me. Almost good enough to tip it to 4 stars, but not quite enough to trump the urge to just put the book down on part 2.5/3.

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