I love me some complicated. And that is putting it lightly.
What I mean when by that is when I am reading a book, and delving into its story and characters, I absolutely love finding myself knee deep in the complicated. I just adore characters who do not have their shit together. I also find myself liking stories with plenty of bumps in the road.
Like I said, I love me some complicated.
Complicated is real life. Complicated is messy. Complicated is any TV show Shonda Rhimes has ever created. (Click that link, and you’ll get that…) Complicated is full of twists and turns that leave you laughing hysterically one minute, and have you in breathless tears the next. Complicated is interesting, and is entertaining as hell. Complicated is what I live for when I read.
Complicated was the first descriptor I thought of when I read about the book I am about to oh so wittingly tell you about in this blog post. In fact, after reading the book’s synopsis, I told the author that very thing.
So are you ready to dive head first into the complicated? I hope so, because there’s no turning back now.
This week at The Never Ending Book Basket, it’s sink or swim time as we discuss You Knew Me When by Emily Liebert.
You Knew Me When is a story about friendship. It’s about what happens when true friendship is allowed to cultivate and grow. It’s also about what happens when friendship hits the many challenges that seem to come up in life.
Laney and Katherine were the best of friends since the day they met at the tender age of 11. The friendship that cultivates between them as they grow in age is natural, extremely real, and captures what it means to have a best friend at different stages of your life.
Flash forward to present day, and some pretty big bumps in the road of life have led them to not speaking for the last 12 years. They’ve both held grudges, they both are pissed off as hell, and they both are hurt beyond words for a lot of reasons.
But that whole not speaking to each other thing is about to end, like now. Their dear old charming and extremely lovable neighbor, Luella, has left them her house and all its belongings worth a fortune in sentiment and emotion. (It’s also worth a little bit of money too.)
It’s all theirs, but to claim what they’ve been given, they have to work together to go through everything and fix up the house. Together, every single step of the way. (And much to their chagrin I might add.)
What happens when these two former friends are thrust back together into the complicated makes for a story that’s hysterically real at times, hurts your hearts at others, and will definitely leave you thinking about what it means to have ever had a true, honest to god, best friend.
What I just loved about this book:
- The characters different voices. There are two very distinct and dynamic voices in this book, which also happen to be the two perspectives you get to read. (Yay you!)
- You have Laney, the spitfire who puts everything into what she feels. She’s unforgiving about a lot of things, and she’s definitely someone you’re gonna remember. (Laney had me cracking up for a lot of reasons while reading, but she is severely honest, which made her all the more better to read.)
- Then you have Katherine. She’s definitely more reserved, and is definitely a tad subtler, but she goes through some pretty defining moments in this book. In those moments, her character truly shines, and you get a glimpse into her spectacularly pensive self. (She also dresses really really well, so god knows I heart
her and her subdued beautiful self.)
- The flashbacks. You Knew Me When is told in both present tense and through flashbacks. I adored those flashbacks. They start off from when Laney and Katherine are young, and go up all the way until the girls are older. Over these flashbacks you get to learn so much more about these characters, and you get to see exactly what shaped them to be who they are in the present. Basically, they give you a ton of insight you’ll just love.
- The evolution of voice. In this story, you get to see firsthand how Laney and Katherine develop physically and emotionally over the years that the book follows. You also get to see how their voices evolve over the story, given their different ages at different points the novel focuses in on. I loved how the essence of their characters carried through the story, but how they naturally and logically grew over time. It just worked.
- The capture of true friendship. This books does a phenomenal job of characterizing what it means to have a true best friend. All the little nuances of female friendship are captured beautifully, and they will resonate with you every step of the way. (There is one scene in particular involving a tampon that had me cracking up, and will definitely make you think of your best friend.) This story takes you on the journey of the ebbs and flows of friendship, and will honestly just make you smile even through the hard times. (Hey, isn’t that what friendship is?)
- The little bit of romance. We all know I love me a little romance, and this book has just enough to make your mouth water. It also fits seamlessly into the story, and doesn’t overtake the other events that are going on.
- The subtle, yet not so subtle theme. Clearly this book is about friendship, and this theme resonates throughout the every page of the book. It’s subtle in a way, which makes the story and theme even more incredible, but it is there fully and you feel it whole heartedly. Essentially, this theme is well represented and balanced well throughout this book’s pages.
- Hello, the complicatedness! This book is complicated and I LOVE it. It has characters who have complicated pasts and presents, and have some idiosyncrasies that make them wholly unique, lovable, and charming. You Knew Me When also presents a story that is full of well thought out complications that put these characters just where they need to be. It’s also just complicated enough to make you want to dive head first into it, but not too complicated that things get lost and you start to drown.
You Knew Me When is a wonderfully complicated story that will remind you what it means to have a best friend. It will take you on a journey with two remarkable women who have a lot they need to deal with over this story. They’ve got their problems, but delving into their minds as they address these problems makes for an entertaining as hell reading experience.
By the end of this book you will be loving the complicated, and will be truly glad there is such a thing as true friendship. Believe me, this book will show you what is worth fighting for, and what it means to have another half that you can call your best friend.
So there you have it folks. I love me some complicated, and this book is complicated in the best possible ways, so be sure to check it out ASAP.
(It’s definitely worth your while, and this one definitely spent too much time in my Never Ending Book Basket, so don’t make my same mistake by waiting to read this phenomenal book!)
To learn more about Emily Liebert and her books, check out the following links: