I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.Aspen by Rebekah Crane
Genres: Young Adult
on March 3rd 2014
Also by this author: The Upside of Falling Down
Format: eARC (288 pages) • Source: Publisher
One quiet night in Boulder, Colorado, Aspen Yellow-Sunrise Taylor made a mistake. In the next instant, her life changed forever. Aspen doesn't want to remember when Katelyn Ryan, a sleek-haired popular soccer player, crossed the yellow line in her car and smashed into Aspen's. But forgetting is pretty hard-- because Katelyn may have died -- but she didn't leave. Her ghost is following Aspen around, and heading into senior year, it's kind of a problem. Especially when Katelyn's gorgeous former boyfriend Ben appears to be the only person at school with a clue as to how Aspen feels. Popularity, college, Homecoming Court, hot guys - none of these things ever mattered to Aspen. She's been busy trying to rein in her giant mass of blonde curls, keep her stoner mother Ninny away from Toaster, her mom's awful bongo drumming boyfriend, and prevent her best friends Kim and Cass from killing - or kissing - one another. But with Ben sitting next to her in Physics looking all too gorgeous, Katelyn's spirit dogging her steps, and her obsessive snow-globe collecting therapist begging her to remember all the things she wants to forget, Aspen is thrust into a vivid, challenging world she can't control ... and doesn't want to. A darkly funny, emotionally gripping story of opening up, letting go, and moving on, ASPEN is about the best-worst accident of your life ... and what comes next.
Review: This book was definitely not what I was expecting. Based on the synopsis, I thought I was going to get something more paranormal. I figured Katelyn’s ghost would be talking to Aspen and trying to live her senior year vicariously through Aspen, since she wouldn’t get the chance. In reality, Katelyn’s ghost would just appear as a figment of Aspen’s imagination until she came to terms with what she’d done. What a great read this book was! I loved all of the characters, the plot moved flawlessly, and it was wrapped up in a way better than I expected. Aspen was a totally normal girl: she had weird friends and hair she hated. She made mistakes. Her mother, the pot-smoking hippie with a boyfriends coming through a revolving door, was awesome. I was totally fascinated by their mother-daughter relationship, because it was pretty much the reverse of what it would normally be. My mom would never encourage me to have sex or say things like “a little sex would put a smile back on that face” and “orgasms make you live longer too.” It was a really cool dynamic that worked in some ways and need help in others. Her friends, Kim and Cass, totally loved each other but would never admit it. I was hoping for a little more about them when the book ended, but it didn’t bother me too much. Katelyn’s former best friend, Suzy, and boyfriend, Ben, are suddenly in Aspen’s life too. One thing that struck me as very different from other young adult books was that the characters weren’t typical. They didn’t react in the standard ways when drama came up and people (for the most part) treated Aspen really well despite what happened. I figured that the entire school would hate her for living through the accident instead of beloved soccer star Katelyn. Instead, she was suddenly given attention from cool kids and people seemed to feel bad for her. It was different than I expected, but I’m happy it was that way. I wasn’t in the mood for the same predictable fights and drama of other young adult stories. When Suzy monopolized Aspen’s time, Kim got jealous, but they didn’t have a huge fight and inevitably resolve it three chapters later. When some of the popular girls criticized how close Ben and Aspen were, it didn’t really cause a school-wide scandal that ruined their relationship until the last chapter. All of the characters just seemed mature to me in a way that was really refreshing. They were also incredibly funny. I would laugh out loud countless times when she was talking to almost any character. Her and Ben discussing Beta Particle and their fan base, electrons, was funnier to me than it probably should have been. I just wanted to throw myself into this book and become friends with everyone involved. Every time I thought I was about to face something like every other book, Rebekah Crane pleasantly surprised me. The classic rock music references were effing amazing too, as someone who prefers that music genre over any other. (That was the only way my relationship with my mom was similar to Aspen’s). The end of the book had a little twist, which was kind of the one thing I did predict. Overall, I would highly recommend Aspen to anyone who wants something a little different than everything else out there. The characters will stick with you long after the book ends and you’ll wish you could keep following their story.
After all, I’m the girl who lived, like a fuck-up Harry Potter with no magical abilities. I’m sure even Harry would say that sucks.