Expected publication: August 11th 2015 by Atria Books
When the love you love is the one who got away…
Rachel Blum and Andy Landis are just eight years old when they meet late one night in an ER waiting room. Born with a congenital heart defect, Rachel is a veteran of hospitals, and she’s intrigued by the boy who shows up all alone with a broken arm. He tells her his name. She tells him a story. After Andy’s taken back to a doctor and Rachel’s sent back to her bed, they think they’ll never see each other again.
Rachel grows up wanting for nothing in a fancy Florida suburb, the popular and protected daughter of two doting parents. Andy grows up poor in Philadelphia with a single mom and a rare talent that will let him become one of the best runners of his generation.
Over the next three decades, their paths cross in magical and ordinary ways. They make grand plans and dream big dreams as they grow together and apart in starts and stops. Through it all, Andy and Rachel never stop thinking about that night in the hospital waiting room all of those years ago, a chance encounter that changed the course of both of their lives.
In this captivating, often witty tale about the bonds between women and men, love and fate, and the truth about happy endings, Jennifer Weiner delivers two of her most memorable characters and a love story you’ll never forget.
It has been several years since I’ve read a Jennifer Weiner book, and in the past I would have normally categorize her books as chick lit – light, fun reads. Well, Weiner has upped her game and blew me away with her new novel. This is not a fluffy, beach read to me. This was a heartfelt, emotional story about the great love of two individuals who find out that love isn’t always enough, and sometimes life takes you down a different path than you ever imagined.
They meet in a hospital when they are kids. Rachel has a heart condition that meant she spent a lot of time in the hospital growing up, and Andy happens to be in the ER one night because of an arm injury. In that very short period of time together, they leave a lasting impression on each other. The book follows both of their paths into adulthood, where they cross into each others lives several times. And although they have a very deep love for each other, they are very different personalities, proving that love isn’t easy, and things don’t always work out how you envision them.
There were a lot of times throughout this book where I was angry or frustrated at things both Andy and Rachel did. Sometimes Rachel seemed a little selfish to me, but as I watched her grow up and go through things we all do as adults, I understood her better and felt sympathy towards her situations. Andy grew up with a single mother who worked all the time, and my heart broke for him as a child. I was almost in tears at the beginning of this book just reading his story and the things he went through. Later, as an adult, he makes some bad decisions that made me want to throw my Kindle across the room. But it was the growth of both characters over time that made this book so wonderful.
The book is a slower read, spanning 30 years of their lives. But it was incredibly engaging and beautiful – I highly recommend it!
ARC kindly provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
You can see my Goodreads review here.