Review: And by the Way by Denise Deegan

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:

At Strandbrook College, we are Kids Of. Kids of diplomats, media stars, musicians, artists, actors, oh, and wealthy people who aspire to all of that. I'm the kid of a rock star. Means nothing to me.

When Mum died, six months ago, I didn't just lose her, I lost my dad - to work. The only thing he does now is annoy me. He hires people like 'The Stylist' who wears bullets in her belt and makes him look like a hobo. Seriously.

But 'The Rockstar' isn't the only person who drives me mad. There's David McFadden, a guy in my class who could have helped but didn't. Now, it's too late. I don't want his help. Because I'm not going to trust anyone, love anyone, rely on anyone. That way I'll never be hurt again.

If only I could solve the problem of Rachel, my best friend, who won't let me pull back just like that. Even David McFadden won't stay out of my face. But I'm not going to fall for his blue eyes, his windswept hair or the plaited leather on his wrist.

And when he says he wants to help, I'm sure as hell not going to listen....

When I was first offered the chance to read and review And By The Way, I knew nothing about the book whatsoever. However, after reading the summary as well as a few rave reviews, I knew I had to give it a chance, no matter what, and as it turns out I’m glad I felt that way, because And By The Way is an amazing, heartfelt book that’s perfect for fans of YA contemporary!

And By The Way tells the story of Alex, a girl who has felt nothing but lost ever since she lost her mother six months ago. It doesn’t help that her Dad’s never home or how he seems to never care. Due to these two things, though, Alex does know one thing, and that’s that she shouldn’t get close to people anymore, because who knows if they’ll be the next to go, or even worse, disappoint her in some way. However, everything changes when David McFadden suddenly catapults himself into her life. He’s frustrating and annoying yet gorgeous and completely captivating. Whenever Alex’s around him, she can’t help but feel more alive than she has in months, and the more she hangs out with him, the more she begins to fall head over heels for him. What happens, though, when their relationship begins to lose the glimmer it once held? Will Alex once again retreat into her shell, away from her family and friends, or will she grow stronger? Only time and more pages call tell in this heartwarming yet heartbreaking story of first love, friendship, and moving on.

When Alex’s character was first introduced, I felt mixed feelings toward her. It was easy to see and understand the pain and hurt she felt over her mother’s death, but it wasn’t always easy to see how she could be so mean to the people who cared most to her, especially her best friends, Rachel and Sarah, as well as David. However, as the novel progressed and Alex began to let go of her past mistakes and live again, I began to see how important that character trait of hers way, because not only did it allow her to bloom into someone amazing, but it also made her as well as her relationships stronger over time.

This leads me to one of my favorite parts of the book: seeing the relationships Alex held with others. All of the relationships in this one were flavored with complicity (to keep things interesting!) as well as heart and hope. I especially loved seeing Alex’s relationship with David grow. Not only because David was swoon worthy, but also because it was always interesting as well as fun to see how both of them, especially Alex, grew because of it all. At first, they were two emotionally messed up people, but by the end, they weren’t so much that way. Moving on, I also enjoyed the focus on the relationship between parents and their kids in this one. It played a major part in the story, especially Alex’s one with her dad, and it made the book even more emotionally charged to say the least.

The overall plot in this one was great! For a contemporary, it managed to surprise me in some surprising ways. Even in the end, I wasn’t sure how everything was exactly going to end, especially when everything took that sudden yet thrilling turn at the end. Denise Deegan sure knows how to pack in suspense to say the least!

Deegan’s writing was also fabulous! She truly captured Alex’s voice to the point where I felt like I was reading a real teen’s diary at times. She also fully developed the supporting characters to the best of her ability and even further at times, and even though the story did drag at times, I was quite impressed overall with her storytelling ability.

Thrilling, unique, and nearly flawless, And by the Way is a surprising new contemporary read that will have readers with one last demand at its finale: Where’s the next one?

Highly recommended.

Grade: A- 

And By The Way (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book DepositoryGoodreads) is now out!

Source: Publicist at Hachette Ireland  

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