Meet Me at the River by Nina de Gramont0
We can't choose who we love; but can we choose to let go?
Stepsiblings Tressa and Luke have been close since they were little and when they become teenagers, they slip from being best friends to being something more. Their relationship makes everyone around them uncomfortable, but they can't deny their connection. Nothing can keep them apart.
Not even death. Luke is killed in a horrible, tragic accident, and Tressa is suddenly and desperately alone. Unable to outrun the waves of grief and guilt and longing, she is haunted by thoughts of suicide. And then she is haunted by Luke himself.
He visits only at night. But when he's with her, it's almost like the accident never happened. Oh, there are reminders, from the way she can only feel him when he touches the scars on her wrist, to how she can't seem to tell him about life since he's been gone. As long as they're together, though, the rest of it fades away.
But during the day it is Tressa who can't grasp hold of the people around her. The same people who never wanted her and Luke together in the first place are determined to help her move on. Determined to help her heal. They just don't understand; one misstep, one inch forward, could leave Luke behind forever.
Nina de Gramont, author of Gossip of the Starlings and Every Little Thing in the World, writes of love that is beautiful and poetic, forbidden and radical and utterly irresistible.
The quote I put from a random section of the book, which is nearing the end of it, accurately describes the book. The whole novel is about life and trying to survive when someone you love dies. It contains survivors guilt, depression, blaming, and loss of self control, especially when it comes to the one who who passed on. Tressa and Luke have an enduring love, one that I certainly admire, which honestly lasts even after he dies. They both cannot let go of each other. It's the sort of love that I think every girl craves and I think that is why they have such a hard time moving past it. I know that I would have a hard time letting go of what I feel like is the love of my life. Nina de Gramont manages to capture the most difficult emotions to depict and brings them to life through these characters who must face some of the most difficult situations. I cannot even make myself picture these situations and I applaud the fact that she brings it so flawlessly to life.
Tressa is an admirable girl, despite her flaws that are sadly becoming more and more common in girls that face depression. Such as... myself at times. The author has certainly given a role model to girls about how to face depression by the end of the book. She definitely faces a great deal of challenges prior to and throughout the course of the novel, things that I wouldn't even want to imagine. I can't picture loosing a boyfriend, one that is particularly a son to my mother and is a son to my step-father. I can't imagine how heartbreaking it would be by any stretch of the imagination. She clings to the past which makes it so much more difficult for her to move beyond her pain but she struggles with the idea of moving on because she doesn't want to lose Luke. I can completely relate in one way or another. Even before his death, she had a hard time connecting to people and now people blames her for Luke's death and she definitely does. I am proud of how much she grew by the end of the book and how much her attitude shifted in such a short amount of times.
I can't even imagine what it would be like to be Luke. The poor boy faces the idea of living without her, the love of his life, for a very long time. He has to face the idea that she might move on and find someone else. How could that be easy for anyone? I can't imagine having to come to grips with something like that. Another aspect that is hard for him is the fact that he has nothing to do but live in the past and the fact that he cannot visit anyone but Tressa. I am not entirely sure that I would be entirely okay with that if I were him. I would want to see my mom and all of the other people, yet I feel like he accepts the fact he cannot see others better than I certainly would. But even seeing her is not everything he wants because he cannot feel her touch outside of the skin of her wrists, which are scarred - evidence of her depression, and that is something that I think would make it only that much harder.
Her family and his family is filled with so many complexities that it's hard to even describe. Hannah, Tressa's mom, is flaky and has a hard time staying in one place for long. Ever since Tressa was born, she was dragged around the world because she doesn't like feeling trapped, I believe. I think the mother-daughter relationship is somewhat dysfunctional because while she never truly gets angry at her, she constantly hovers. Paul, Luke's dad and Tressa's stepfather, has very little relationship with Tressa because he felt a great amount of jealousy for the relationship between Tressa and Hannah as well as disapproving of her relationship with Luke. In someways, he blames her for what happened. I cannot even imagine having the man I am trying to view as my father essentially hating me. It would hurt and it would be extremely hard. Francine, Luke's mom, is having a hard time. She is certainly suffering from the loss of her son and struggles with how to confront her emotions and Tressa, which makes it awkward when ever they see each other. She avoids Tressa constantly, especially since they both are at the high school five days a week, because she is afraid of the past and partly blames herself for Luke's death. Tressa's grandma and grandpa are the greatest support for Tressa and therefore they were my favorite family members.
Evie is the girl that slowly becomes Tressa's only friend and the only person that doesn't look at her with complete pity because she has been in a similar place. They bond over their losses and it makes the idea of moving on easier for our lovely main character. Tressa is able to see that it is possible to let go of the hard times in life and find the joys in the beautiful moments however rare they may be. HJ is Evie's brother and also a great support to her. He inspires her to want to live again for so many reasons. Even if she is living one day at a time, he encourages her to move beyond Luke. I was surprised at how big of a role he actually played in the novel but by the end of the book, I understood completely why he was so important.
It was a great read, definitely check it out!
**This book was received from the publisher via Edelweiss. None of the review was influenced by the author or the publisher. This is a completely original review. The thoughts and feelings of the reviewer are entirely her own and have no ties to the publisher.**