Friday, May 23, 2014

Aspen by Rebekah Crane

From GoodReads

One quiet night in Boulder, Colorado, Aspen Yellow-Sunrise Taylor made a mistake.

In the next instant, her life changed forever.

Aspen doesn't want to remember the devastating car accident that killed Katelyn Ryan, a sleek-haired popular soccer player. But forgetting is hard-- because Katelyn may have died -- but she didn't leave. Her ghost is following Aspen around, and heading into senior year, it's kind of a problem. Especially when Katelyn's gorgeous former boyfriend Ben appears to be the only person at school with a clue as to how Aspen feels.

Popularity, college, Homecoming Court, hot guys - none of these things ever mattered to Aspen. She's been busy trying to rein in her giant mass of blonde curls, keep her stoner mother Ninny away from Toaster, her mom's awful bongo drumming boyfriend, and prevent her best friends Kim and Cass from killing - or kissing - one another. But with Ben sitting next to her in Physics looking all too gorgeous, Katelyn's spirit dogging her steps, and her obsessive snow-globe collecting therapist begging her to remember all the things she wants to forget, Aspen is thrust into a vivid, challenging world she can't control … and doesn't want to.

A darkly funny, emotionally gripping story of opening up, letting go, and moving on, ASPEN is about the best-worst accident of your life ... and what comes next.


***ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

As someone who always has a book with me no matter where I go, I am forever on the lookout for new authors to add to my "To Read" list.  Whenever one of my favorite authors highly recommends another author, they often get to move to the top of the list.  So, when Jessica Park started talking about Rebekah Crane & provided a NetGalley link for Aspen, I didn't hesitate in requesting & downloading it.  Without knowing anything about the book, I started reading & found a surprisingly humorous story of a girl dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic event.

Aspen Yellow-Sunrise Taylor was born under an Aspen tree to a teenage mother who thought she was suffering from a bad case of gas.  She has spent most of her life hiding in the background, capturing the world on paper with her charcoal pencil.  Her day to day life is filled with her mom Ninny & her friends Kim & Cass. Other than that, she is happy being relatively invisible to her other classmates.  All of that changes when she wakes up one day in the hospital broken & bruised, but alive.  Katelyn Ryan was not so lucky.

Katelyn was the complete opposite of Aspen.  She was beautiful, popular and, if everyone in school is to be believed, perfect.  Aspen didn't know Katelyn in life, but in death, she can't seem to shake her. Not only is Aspen being haunted by Katelyn, but suddenly, she is no longer invisible & everyone in school seems to want to get to know her. . .most surprisingly Ben Tyler, Katelyn's boyfriend.

Ninny isn't like any mother I have ever met or read before.  As a girl, she was a free-loving, pot smoking, wild child who can only guess at the father of her daughter.  As a woman, she's. . .not much different! Though, through all of her faults, there is no question about how much she loves her daughter.  Her interactions with Aspen (and especially Ben!) are hilarious.  She is honest & open to a fault with little to no filter even when her intentions are good.  She reminded me a bit of an extreme version of Lorelai Gilmore. Where I wouldn't want her as my own mother, I loved every minute of reading her story.

I think Rebekah Crane did a fantastic job in creating a compelling, humorous story out of a difficult situation. The complete cast of characters were well drawn & interesting.  I did wish that we had gotten a better idea of who Katelyn was, but as her death occurs prior to the story beginning, it is understandable that the only picture we get of her is through the eyes of those who knew her, loved her & would never betray her by telling her secrets.  The pacing of the story is perfect.  I never felt like I was being rushed through the story, but was also drawn in completely enough that I only put it down once in order to get a few hours of sleep.

I hadn't heard of Rebekah Crane prior to Jessica Park's recommendation, but I was thrilled to find out that she had already released another book, Playing Nice, which is currently only $0.99 on Kindle.  I purchased it right away & can't wait to see if it is as enjoyable of a read as Aspen is.

Aspen will be available for purchase & download on June 5th

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