Earlier this year I read Vanishing Summer and was amazed by this story. So needless to say, I was so excited when I found out the sequel had arrived. Awakening Autumn is the next book of the Unexpected Love series and is out now. I have to start off with a big thanks to the author for providing me an ARC to read and review!
Meredith is a character we already met in Vanishing Summer and I already connected with her then. She loves book, is very caring and in many ways takes on more responsibility than most teenagers could ever even think of. I was really happy to read her story!
Meredith has had a crush on her best friend’s brother for as long as she can remember, but isn’t so sure about her feelings anymore. When she finally confesses and he doesn’t feel the same, Meredith isn’t sure what to feel. Add her stepfather getting in an accident at work and her life is flipped upside down. When she gets support from an unexpected person, she goes on a journey of finding out who she is and opening her heart.
“I turned onto my side, and thought there was something interesting about fantasy boyfriends. Perhaps they were supposed to stay that way.”
I have to say Meredith is one of the strongest teenagers I know. Not many would be able to take on the responsibility of school, three younger siblings and an injured stepfather. I was exhausted while just reading about it. Meredith is a character who gets stuck in her head a lot and I love that she can admit that. Even if it has to be pulled out at times.
In this book we also get little glimpses of Greta and Everett. They are still a big part of Meredith’s life and because of her crush on Greta’s brother, she meets Owen. I loved how he kind of just entered her life. He was there for awhile, but she finally noticed him. They have a connection from the start, but I love how it slowly develops. No insta-love and I was thankful for that. There is a genuinie interest and it develops as they get to know each other. Moments with them had a smile on my face and I was just waiting for them to realize their feelings.
“I wanted to be special to someone. I wanted to be someone’s person. Someone’s one and only.”
Owen seems like a boy who has it all, but there is definitely more to his story. He lives with his grandfather and is learning to take over the barber shop. I loved his grandfather and the moments with him in this book were very heartwarming. Even if his parents aren’t everything he needs, there is clearly someone who loves him and cares for him.
I also have to talk about Meredith’s family. She doesn’t know her father and is thrilled when her mother marries her stepfather. To her it feels like she’s finally getting a father of her own. Once her younger siblings came along, it was hard for her to word what she wanted and doesn’t really feel like a part of that bond. Her family is a big mess, but they love each other to pieces. One of my favorite aspects of this story was between Alex (her step father) and Meredith.
“I don’t think you were overreacting. I don’t think there is such a thing when it comes to feelings. Some of them are big, especially the ones that are untrue in fact, but true in feeling.”
Lora Richardson doesn’t give us the perfect characters you often see in young adult stories. Her characters are genuine and struggling in their own way, but clearly very strong. I love how she shows that even in the hardest situations how important friends, family and even opening up to loved one is important. Mental health is an important subject and I loved how even Greta says to her that friends share the load. When one friend needs support the other has their back and the same thing happens when the other friend is in need. This was beautifully said.
All in all, Awakening Autumn was another amazing book. This book has everything from friendship, first loves, family and learning how to talk about how you feel. In many ways it’s hard to put into words how I feel about this book, it just hits you in all the feels! I was sad when this book is over, but I’m happy to see Reverie is getting her own book. There is a lot more to her story than meets the eye!
Lora Richardson is definitely on my list of authors to keep an eye on! If you’re looking for books that really make you think and hits you in all the feels, definitely pick up her books. What was the last book that hit you in all the feels?