Series: Real Life #2
Author: Nancy Rue
Published Date: May 8th 2010
Genre: Christian Fiction, Realistic Fiction, YA
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★.5
Bryn O’Connor is good at keeping secrets. But when a car accident reveals her boyfriend’s abusive behavior, the truth is unleashed. And it starts a tidal wave of trouble in Bryn’s life: enemies who were once friends, a restraining order violation, and her world unraveled. If that weren’t enough, her grandmother Mim arrives, attempting Mexican cuisine and insisting that Bryn try surfing. It’s all too much! Even Bryn’s habit of daydreaming won’t offer an escape this time. But could a mysterious book she found hold the secret to riding a tsunami like her life?
"I stopped arguing. I stopped crying. I realized for the first time ever that I didn't really know how to get my way with anybody. I did know how to pretend it didn't happen or that I could make it disappear, or that I was somebody else."
I originally got this book as a part of the #VASRP Challenge that I set for myself with trying to read more summery books for the next few months. While this book does have a summery theme with the beach and surfing it also deals with a very heavy topic of abuse in dating as teenagers. I haven’t really read many books that deal with abuse in general, as it’s something outside of my comfort zone, but after I found that out about this one, I decided to go ahead and keep reading and see how it turned out.
Bryn is dating Preston who is an Olympic Level swimmer, but has serious problems that he hides from almost everyone and those problems he takes out on her in private so no one will know he’s doing it. But one night he escalates and they end up getting into a car accident. Preston knows how to act like the doting boyfriend in order to not get caught, but this time no amount of doting boyfriend act will keep him from getting into trouble.
"I just wanted this to go away. I wanted me to go away. I was nothing before I met him and I could be that again. But Preston was everything everybody wanted to be. Who were people going to believe?"
At the hospital Bryn starts telling what’s been going on after her father is accused of hitting her. After this she is forced by her dad to charge Preston. This is when everything starts going wrong, not only does no one she had become friends with believe her, she also gets a ton of hate via social media that continues on throughout the whole book.
When Bryn’s grandma that goes by Mim comes into town to help her deal with all of this as her mother is out of the country with her sister. Bryn is not happy and instead closes herself off even more until Mim takes her surfing where they have to talk to each other and Bryn start opening up about what happened and why she let it go on for so long. While Bryn didn’t really want to surf she was finally able to and really started to enjoy it and make new friends as well until Preston started to try and take them away.
As court started happening as well and Preston refused to take plea deals, his friends antics to try and scare Bryn escalated, but she never told anyone until near the end of things and then told everything after she realized they just weren’t going to stop. Once court starts and things don’t look so good for Preston he ends up sealing his own fate after hurting one of Bryn’s friends and her new boyfriend as well.
Overall I really liked this story and wanted to find out what happened to Bryn and if she could make it stop before he hurt anyone else. I loved how her relationship with Mim changed as they spent more time together and Bryn also grew an extreme amount as a person. By the end of the book I was proud of what she was doing and how she was dealing with things. I did think jumping into a new relationship so fast wasn’t such a great idea, but it ended up turning out for the best thankfully. The way Bryn learns to deal with things is through a book she got at the hospital called RL and through this scripture is personalized exactly for her and her situation which I found very interesting and a good way to add it into the story without it being preachy.
I can’t wait to read the other books in this series a little later on this year as they are all companion novels I believe which I’m really starting to enjoy.
"If you don't start talking about it to the people that matter, no amount of surfing or new girlfriends or new boyfriends is going to heal you. It's still going to be in their, festering, until you get on a witness stand and have to tell it to strangers who not only don't love you, they want to prove you wrong."