I was recently given the chance to read these two books in a newer Young Adult contemporary series. I flew through both books and since I read one right after the other I thought it would be easier to review both in one post.
All the Things We Lost is book one in the River Valley Lost & Found series.
This cover is very appealing. It makes me think of summer and a happy love story. I love the font that is used!
“There are just some things that make you feel better. Lots of ice cream, a good cry and singing at the top of your lungs.”
Katie just recently lost her mother and won’t leave her couch. Her grandmother suggests that she goes to her father in Idaho. She hasn’t seen him since her parents divorced years before than, but she does go. Julian was planning to go to college, but had to put it on hold when his father up and leaves them and his brother strays down the wrong path. Katie and Julian lived in the same street, so it’s quite a surprise for both of them to see the other again. They were best friends. Katie isn’t in a great place, but while working in a restaurant to get some grip on life she hears rumors about Julian and isn’t sure what to think. There she meets Gwen, who has her own past to deal with, becomes Katie’s best friend and helps her a lot. Reading from both POV, really made me understand them more. I loved the fact that they already knew each other was really nice and more so with the fact that it wasn’t instant love again. My favorite moment is the first time Julian finds Katie on his trampoline in the backyard. That was very touching. They were actually really careful of the other in the beginning. I appreciated this. It happens too often in books that they’re instantly in love in less than a minute. The only thing that bugged me about this book was that the time seemed to fly by. A jump of a few months happened at times and that made me feel like we were missing certain things.
“But for some reason, I didn’t feel the weight of everything when I was around Katie. I found myself more free to joke around and feel like an eighteen-year-old again.”
Katie is a teenager that I can really relate to. I can’t imagine losing my mother at that age and having to deal with everything. Having a rocky relationship with her father doesn’t make the move easy, but she does try in the beginning. She tries to hide her feelings when it comes to Julian, but after awhile she just can’t fight it. She also learns in the end that she doesn’t have to act like everything is okay, but that she just can’t forget to live.
“And much to my embarassment, I finally understood how a guy could have a great butt.”
Julian had it all. He was captain of his wrestling team and had a wrestling scholarship. That was until his father up and left his family one day and his brother started going down the wrong path. His mother just sits at home and has mood swings. He feels responsible, so he doesn’t go to college and gets a job to just barely get by. His brother bugs him every once in awhile and it normally leaves him with bruises somewhere. Everyone thinks he’s just like his brother and he just lets people believe it. He is tired of trying to show people he’s different. Then when Katie shows up old feelings stir and he wants to prove to her that he is a good guy. That he deserves a chance. Katie makes him realize he is worth something and he finally finds his voice and a way to change his own life for the better.
“You can’t control the heart. You can’t make it fall in love when it doesn’t want to any more than you can’t stop it from the loving the wrong person.”
Other than the few flaws I talked about, this book was amazing. Exactly the kind of story I really enjoy reading.
All the Things We Found is book two in the River Valley Lost & Found series.
After finishing the first book I opened the second book right after. I think I love this cover even more than the first. It looks so romantic. A nice moment with the one you love while it’s snowing. It hasn’t snowed like that in ages here. When I see moments like that I actually miss it, haha.
“But those stupid dimples made me, well, stupid.”
This story is about Gwen and Mitch. Gwen moved to Idaho a few years ago from California. There is a reason why, but she doesn’t tell anyone about it. She goes to college and works at a diner. Gwen is in love with her best friend Mitch, but doesn’t think anything will ever happen and kind of pushes it away! Mitch is the “good guy” and has been in love with Gwen for awhile, but feels like she pushes him away. They do a lot for eachother. He knows that something happened before she moved to Idaho, but he doesn’t know what. When they get in a car accident, Mitch has a wakeup call that he does want her. He tries to start more, but she keeps it on hold. Things get awkward between them and a lot of stuff happens (I don’t want to spoil too much) and he doesn’t handle her secret well. Gwen thinks this is exactly the reason why she can’t trust guys and needs to move on. Luckily Katie is there to help her and even helps Mitch when he asks.
“I’d never had this type of relationship before. The kind where you just knew what the other person wanted without having to ask. There was a level in comfort in that.”
Gwen and Mitch were another set of characters I really hoped would end with a happily ever after. I don’t know what it was, but I instantly connected with these characters. About halfway through the book I kind of predicted what Gwen’s secret was and felt her pain. I loved the Katie and Julian made an apperance in this book as well and were really supportive of their friends. This was another feelgood book for me in the end! And what bothered me in the first book (time going by fast) didn’t seem to be an issue in this book. Once again the use of both POV mad this story so much better. I really want to read the next book in this series. I’m not ready to say goodbye to what I’ve read.
“Gwen, she was a complete nerd. In the cutest way, of course. She loved all that geeky stuff.”
Gwen is a normal teenage girl who goes to college, works and does her best to get by. She has a hard time dealing with her past, but she’s trying. Gwen is a friend to a few close friends and loves them dearly. She is sweet. I love that she goes for ice cream and film marathons. A girl after my own heart, haha.
“The thought took me by surprise. Loners were the weird guys who didn’t have any friends. They wore trench coats and had greasy hair. They laughed at the most inappropriate moments. Loners were not the likable guy who didn’t get too attached. Or were they?”
Mitch is a good guy. He still lives at home and goes to college from there. He does his best to get good grades and be there for his friends. Mitch is in love with Katie, but doesn’t want to push it. When things get difficult, things aren’t easy at home either. He feels invisible at home being the middle child. He doesn’t feel heard. This makes a lot of things harder for him. In some ways he’s a typical guy and it takes him a bit to figure out how to deal with females, haha. I think he ends up in a good place.
“It made me realize I never wanted to kiss another girl. It’s you. It has to be you because I’m completely ruined for anyone else.”
I really enjoyed these two books. I am a fan of contemporary books, so these were perfect for that. The fact that these books take place during the Fall and Winter it gave me the perfect feeling for this type of year. It makes me want to see snow, haha. I am really hoping to be able to read the third book!