Welcome to my stop for the Tasty Tour for Rewind to You by Laura Johnston. Please be sure to check out the other tour stops, and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway where you could be one of five lucky winners of an eBook copy of the title.
A debut offering from Laura Johnston manages to convincingly combine a story of coming to terms with grief and loss and a love story, with characters that are well-crafted and easy to relate to. Told in alternating points of view, Johnston tells the story of Sienna and her struggles with guilt and grief over her father’s death. Sienna is often ‘stuck’ in her own head and memories, reliving moments and beating herself up over her grief. The summer at Tybee Island, a family vacation spot for so many years has added a whole new layer of memories to her already full plate.
We meet Sienna’s mother, a character who is dealing with grief in her own way and isn’t particularly sensitive or accommodating of her daughter’s struggles. From much of Sienna’s remembered moments with her father, it almost feels as if her mother holds some jealousy over the relationship, and her own guilt makes her sharper than she normally would have been. Then we have the boy you pray your daughter does NOT bring home in Kyle, although he was also a spot-on older teen boy in a relationship: rather selfish, short on patience, and jealous of the time that Sienna isn’t focused on him. There was little to endear him to readers, although you could see why Sienna wasn’t quite ready to put a complete end to the relationship with everything else in her life in turmoil.
But – that’s all Sienna, and after the spate of trials she has had, she does deserve a chance to find someone who is both worthy of her, and will be patient and caring: allowing her to find the best way to move forward and deal with her grief. We get that in Austin, after a fairly dramatic rescue he’s drawn to the girl with sadness radiating from her, and he can’t help but wonder.
His own life has not been trouble-free, so he is in a position to understand and empathize with Sienna’s struggles, even if he isn’t forthcoming about his own history and secrets. He is both interested and patient with Sienna, and most importantly, he gives her the room to grieve and vent and just be, while showing her that moving on is possible.
If all that isn’t enough, Sienna’s younger brother is also grieving and acting out, and while he is often funny and quite pointed in his observations, the bond between the two have Sienna trying to help him through the difficulties they are facing, even as exasperating as he can be. Keeping the hope and happiness in a story that is deeply rooted in great sorrow, Johnston doesn’t bring a tone that is overly maudlin, rather readers will run through the gamut of emotions and cheer on both Sienna and Austin’s steps to move forward in life and in their budding love. While their growing affections are palpable, and there is tangible desire, their own relationship is far more a story of an emotional connection leading to love than a physical one, making this story appropriate for teen as well as adult readers who are not wanting explicit scenes. A debut that is well-crafted with skill and strong voice, Laura Johnston is sure to make the must-buy list for many readers.
Title: Rewind to You
Author: Laura Johnston
Published by: Kensington
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ iTunes ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦Audible
Wish You Were Here
One last summer before college on beautiful Tybee Island is supposed to help Sienna forget. But how can she? This is where her family spent every summer before everything changed, before the world as she knew it was ripped away.
But the past isn’t easily left behind. Especially when Sienna keeps having episodes that take her back to the night she wants to forget. Even when she meets the mysterious Austin Dobbs, the guy with the intense blue eyes, athlete’s body, and weakness for pralines who scooped her out of trouble when she blacked out on River Street.
When she’s with Austin, Sienna feels a whole new world opening up to her. Austin has secrets, and she has history. But caught between the past and the future, Sienna can still choose what happens now…
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.