Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #3
Publication date: March 1, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Format: eBook, 308 pages
How I got it: I bought it!
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Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different...
This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt - with her.
Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy...
It’s been awhile since I read a Miranda Kenneally book. The first book in her Hundred Oaks series, Catching Jordan, is one of my favorites YA contemporaries. I read the second book, Stealing Parker, and it really wasn’t for me. I never made a conscious decision to not read further on in this series, but over time I moved on and never went back to read the next books. After getting approved for her upcoming book, Jesse’s Girl, I decided it’s high time to play catch up. I’m glad I did, too, because Things I Can’t Forget was a great read and exactly what I needed when I read it.
I’ll admit, I was a little concerned going into this book that it would have too much religion for my own personal preference. I was wrong. I mean, there is quite a bit of religion – the book is set during a church summer camp and the main character is wrestling with her own faith and beliefs. I actually loved the part religion played in this book and the way it was handled. I think it has a great message about your faith being your own and how important it is to not thrust your beliefs and values upon others.
Kate was a good heroine. I struggled with her a bit at times because of how judgmental she tended to be of others. I recognize she was struggling and trying to reconcile her beliefs with some of her new desires and things she had done, but I find that kind of behavior off-putting. The good news here is that Kate begins to see the error of her ways. I think she matured quite nicely with the help of her experiences at summer camp and the friends she made there.
Of course, I can’t say enough about how important one of her fellow campers, Matt, is to her growth during this story. Matt is adorable. He really is one of the highlights of this book for me. I loved his personality. He was quirky and fun. I adored the backstory between he and Kate. It was just cute. I thoroughly enjoyed watching these two get to know each other again. It was a sweet, first love-ish kind of romance that just made me smile. It also gave Kate some moments of pause as she tried to figure out where these new feelings fit into her faith and how to move forward.
I don’t read nearly as many YA books as I used to for a number of reasons, but I won’t get into those here. What I will say is that this book was the perfect palate cleanser after too many new adult books in a row. It made me remember why I enjoy reading YA. I think Miranda does an amazing job accurately portraying the life of a teenager. It was realistic, which doesn’t always mean pretty. But the struggles Kate went through are the same so many teens do. I’m not a super religious person, but I really did appreciated the part faith played in Things I Can’t Forget. It even gave me some things to think about.
I can tell you that, as I write this review, I have just finished Racing Savannah, the next book in this series, and have every intention of jumping into Breathe, Annie, Breath, as soon as I schedule this post. I didn’t intend to spend my weekend bingeing on this series, but I regret absolutely nothing.