You know what I love about a Sarina Bowen novel? Her need for the controversial. The more drama and shock value, the better. She isn't afraid to tackle the major issues and they always come full circle. This makes for some really interesting novels that aren't cliche and has a lasting impact even after you turn the last page.
This novel tackled pedophilia and neglect. Though the pedophilia issues took a front seat for most of the story, I think we still got a chance to explore neglect and it's effects. I got both sides of the spectrum while getting to know and love the characters individually and as a couple.
We focused on the backlash of parents decisions in more ways than one and we got to see more than one outcome from three different situations. I was invested in this story to the point where I had to fall asleep reading it because I didn't wanna put it down.
A few reveals were unexpected and soft in their delivery but I believe that Sarina Bowen unfolded this novel at the right pace and time with the matching emotions. It wasn't a tear jerker for me but I did empathize and relate.
I never expected a party animal but Bridger was not the one we met in 'The Year We Fell Down'. I'm not complaining though and I love it even more that we didn't have the cliche of jealous past bed mates threatening their relationship. After all, they already had their own problems that were far beyond their years. Also, I really would like to know where Harkness College is located because I would love a space at the Hogwarts-esque University.
Scarlet was great from beginning to end and I love the levity and reasoning that her character brought to the table. She reminded me of Corey, from book 1, with her sense of humour and spirit. She stayed strong throughout life's challenges and her inner monologues were just as hilarious as when she voiced them.
Naturally, this novel was heavily hockey based but I have learned that Ms. Bowen is all about the ice sports and I never mind learning a new sport. The sex in this novel was few but they were passionate and held meaning.
It was a nice touch to see Bridger interact with Lucy and to see his fight and determination to make things good for them both. I find it hard to believe in real life that he could do the things he did but that's what makes him a hero isn't it?
'The Year We Hid Away' is another stellar novel in a heart warming series that tackles some major taboo topics while giving us the quintessential college love story with a few twist. Any problems I might have, is the inconclusive ending that left you guessing more than the final score and the fact that I hate the guy on the cover. Not major issues, but then again it's a Sarina Bowen novel, she doesn't leave much stones unturned.