Book Review: Who She Was*

6:00:00 PM

Just as I was surprised by Danielle Esplin sending me her manuscript before her release date; I was so  honored to receive a paperback copy of Who She Was for review!

Jessica Maret was such a sweetheart when we met on instagram! Through a few instagram comments and lots of emails, we learned that a lot of points in our lives connected. For example, I'm a military wife and she worked for an organization that benefits military families. I also learned that she's from the town that my brother-in-law just moved too. Such a small world!

I was really intrigued by Maret's book because it is a young adult novel centered around bullying. The author is an anti-bullying advocate and even donates 15% to anti-bullying organizations! This hit home for me because I've dealt with a fair share of bullying in my life. From the young years of elementary school and all the way through high school, I was treated as an outcast.

Not only was I sold on the bullying aspect, but the synopsis just sounded incredibly intriguing! Take a look for yourself!

A moment's hesitation can be all it takes to change the course of your life forever. 

She never wanted it. Any of it. They weren't her dreams at all. But they would become realized just the same. 

Born into a noteworthy family in a small town, Etta Fontaire feels inadequate and awkward most of the time. A tomboy with little interest in fitting in, Etta is often bullied by her peers and finds it confusing and suspicious when the most desirable guy in school takes an interest in her. 

After her mother bans Etta from seeing him, the results are catastrophic and Etta quickly realizes her life might never be hers again. 

I was so excited to begin this book and I was happy to find that the font was large and it was written with simple vocabulary.

One thing that I noticed with this book was that there were a lot of things missing. I'm not 100% sure if I got the final copy of the book, but I noticed missing words that would help the sentence flow more smoothly, as well as missing quotations marks.

I absolutely loved the story line and I found it very intriguing! The twist in chapter 10 was completely unexpected! It took the story on a path that it needed.

While I loved the story, I found it a little hard to follow sometimes. I noticed that the narrator went from 2nd grade to 7th very quickly. It was also odd that in chapter 17 Etta had her first day of school, then was already halfway done with her senior year in the beginning of chapter 18. It just seemed like the time disappeared.

I really loved Marets main characters. They were incredibly easy to connect with! Especially because so many little moments between the characters have happened in my life. My husband and I actually lived in the same neighborhood for years and never knew it! I was even friends with the kid across the street from him and he was friends with the kid across the street from me. We went years without ever crossing paths! It was also funny that she wrote that asking prom over text was lame, because that's exactly what my husband did for my junior/his senior prom.

I also found it odd how many secondary characters there were. It was hard to keep up and I started forgetting who some of them were. That could be due to fiber fog, but I'm not sure. I also wish the narrator didn't use names so often. I think the story would have flowed more smoothly if there were more pronouns mixed in. I think using the parents first names added a little bit of unnecessary confusion. It wasn't bad, just not what I prefer. You might feel otherwise.

Another thing that I noticed in this book was repetition. In the beginning it seemed like Maret was repeating a lot of the little details. Maybe it was to remind the reader, but I'm not sure that it was necessary. I think the biggest offender was the use of "says." It gets the point across, but it could be replaced with many other verbs.

A lot of the little things that I noticed about this book are pretty simple, they don't affect the plot, but they do affect how one reads the book. For example, there was an issue with lines ending randomly and leaving space where the rest of the sentence should have been. I'm not sure if that was a printing issue, but it thew me off. I also noticed a lot of random lines in the margin, that didn't seem to have any significance. This could have just been my copy of the book, but I'm not entirely sure.

I think the only thing I really disliked about this was the sentence structure and grammar. Like I mentioned earlier there were some missing words and punctuation. There were also a few run on sentences that could have been broken apart. I think a second look and printing would easily perfect the book.

I wished that the dialogue seemed a little more real. In the beginning it seemed a bit forced and unbelievable, but it quickly got better throughout the rest of the book. It could just be a reflection of the relationships I have with people, but I don't normally talked to people the way they did in this book.

Overall, I really liked the storyline of Who She Was. I think that Maret has a great idea and a great story. I would recommend this book to readers as long as it was reprinted. I do plan on reading the rest of Maret's books as she explained she hoping to extend this series. I think that the ideas she has are great and I really look forward to them!

I know my review may have sounded a little negative, but I think that's just the copy editor in me. Sometime's I wish I had never taken those classes :)

I really do mean it though, I would definitely recommend this book. I think Maret sheds a light on a topic that needs to be addressed. She's a great writer and anti-bullying advocate, and I think she is doing wonderful work!

If you're interested in purchasing this book, you can find it here.

Have you read Who She Was? I would love to know what you thought! 

* This book was provided by the author in exchange for the review. However, all opinions and comments in this review are 100% my own. *

* This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I'll receive some type of commission. For more information, you can read our full disclosure here. *

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