by Erin Butler
Publisher: Entangled Embrace
★★★★☆ (4 / 5 stars)
*I received an ARC from the publisher for review*
How We Lived tackles the issues of losing a loved one, and the emotional impact it can have on an entire community. Kelsey Larkin recently lost her brother, Kyle, who once served in the army, in an auto accident. Her and Kyle’s best friend, Chase Crowley was the driver responsible for the tragedy. Since the incident, everyone in the community hates Chase and makes him out to be this terrible person with no hope of redemption. But in the thick of it all, Chase always had an interest in Kelsey, and wanted to try and find a way for their relationship to work. Of course, with the issues he is forced to bear, their relationship seems impossible. But this story, told from both Chase and Kelsey’s POV, shows that no matter how dark it gets, love will prevail.
This was an emotionally gripping story, sometimes downright exhausting. The story really just revolves around Kyle’s death, and the issue is constantly brought up. There’s a lot of childhood reminiscing, which I understand was necessary to show just how close Kyle, Kelsey, and Chase were, but many times, I felt the flashbacks were overdone.
The sexual tension between Chase and Kelsey was done well, as we got to see their relationship grow and evolve in lieu of Kyle’s death.
Kelsey’s issues with failing college and her relationship with her parents felt realistic. It was a great way to show her transition to being more independent in this New Adult setting. It’s hard to cope with a loss, especially someone as close as your own brother, and it showed in her character, as she was always looking for some sort of comfort or security, which she found in Chase.
I really liked Chase. Despite the accident, I thought he more than made up for it by the way he gave back to the community in a very unique and heartfelt way. People didn’t understand him, and many still don’t even as the story ends, but that’s okay. He’s got Kelsey. They were meant for each other.
Near the end of the story, there was a small twist when Chase makes some serious confessions to Kelsey, and it makes the reader think who was really the ‘bad guy’ in all of this.
There are only eleven chapters in this book, but the chapters are pretty long. Overall, good story.