Welcome to Monday Book Reviews! I have a long list of books I’ve read in the past year that I haven’t been able to review, so I’m mixing them up with books that I’m reading and are on my TBR. Today I’ll be reviewing 18 Things by Jamie Ayres, that I read a while ago and only scanned over it again to remember character names and certain details. I remember the story clearly.
BOOK: 18 THINGS
AUTHOR: JAMIE AYRES
GENRE: YOUNG ADULT/PARANORMAL
RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Olga Gay Worontzoff thinks her biggest problems are an awful name and not attending prom with Conner, her best friend and secret crush since kindergarten.
Then, Conner is killed in a freak boating accident and Olga feels responsible for his death.
When she downs an entire bottle of pills to deal with the emotional pain, her parents force her into counseling. There, her therapist writes a prescription in the form of a life list titled “18 Things”: eighteen quests to complete the year of her eighteenth birthday.
But there’s more to Olga’s quests than meets the eye and when her therapist reveals a terrifying secret, her world is shaken.
There’s only one thing she knows for certain: her choices won’t just affect her future, but all eternity.
Olga’s been in love with Conner since they were little kids and never told him, so they grew up being best friends. Conner dies tragically while they’re out sailing, and Olga is unable to save him, though injured herself and subsequently rendered unconscious. She can’t help but blame herself, thinking she could have done more to save him. The fact that she wanted the girl he asked to prom – popular, head cheerleader Tammy, to know she could have him with her any time she wanted when they planned that fateful day, made it worse. Unfortunately, when she goes back to school after his funeral, a few anonymous and cold-hearted classmates leave notes in her locker blaming her too.
In an effort to escape her pains, physical and emotional, Olga takes the bottle of pain medication the hospital prescribed her when she was discharged. After the ‘pill incident’, her parents insist on therapy. Her therapist Dr. Jill recommends a bucket list of 18 things to do during the year until she’s 18 to help her move forward with the healing process.
It’s while waiting for one of her sessions that she meets Nate Barca, who was court-ordered to therapy. A friendship begins. Olga finds Nate attractive, which she bothers her, because she still loves Conner. She appeals to God for answers – through prayers and pleas many times. How am I going to get through the year? Why didn’t God take me instead of him? I’m not going to give away much more because of spoilers.
I loved the idea and premise of the story. Reading how Olga, Nate, and her friends helped construct and get her through the bucket list was fun. Most of the characters were well fleshed out, although a couple were kind of cliché. Nate was my favorite and who I felt had the most personality. The book has references to God, scripture, and prayers, but it’s not added in a preachy way; it’s an important part of who Olga is and how she ‘deals’.
The ending shocked me – but didn’t, I guess. I had suspicions about how it was going to end in the beginning, but as I kept reading I said ‘Nah’ and forgot about them. When I finally reached the ending, I thought to myself – ‘Wait, what?’ … and had to go back to look for the clues that had me suspicious in the first place!
Overall, I think this is an interesting and clean read for young adults, and would recommend it.
RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jamie Ayres writes young adult paranormal love stories by night and teaches young adults as a Language Arts middle school teacher by day. When not at home on her laptop or at school, she can often be found at a local book store grabbing random children and reading to them. So far, she has not been arrested for this. Although she spent her youthful summers around Lake Michigan, she now lives in Florida with her prince charming, two children (sometimes three based on how Mr. Ayres is acting), and a basset hound. She really does have grandmothers named Olga and Gay but unlike her heroine, she’s thankfully not named after either one of them. She loves lazy pajama days, the first page of a good book, stupid funny movies, and sharing stories with fantastic people like you. Her books include the first two installments of her trilogy, 18 Things and 18 Truths. Visit her jamieayres.com.