Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review: The Best of Us by Sarah Pekkanen

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
An all-expense-paid week at a luxury villa in Jamaica—it’s the invitation of a lifetime for a group of old college friends. All four women are desperate not just for a reunion, but for an escape: Tina is drowning under the demands of mothering four young children. Allie is shattered by the news that a genetic illness runs in her family. Savannah is carrying the secret of her husband’s infidelity. And, finally, there’s Pauline, who spares no expense to throw her wealthy husband an unforgettable thirty-fifth birthday celebration, hoping it will gloss over the cracks already splitting apart their new marriage.

Languid hours on a private beach, gourmet dinners, and late nights of drinking kick off an idyllic week for the women and their husbands. But as a powerful hurricane bears down on the island, turmoil swirls inside the villa, forcing each of the women to reevaluate everything she knows about her friends—and herself.
Review:

After reading the heartbreaking yet spectacular Skipping a Beat, Sarah's sophomore novel, I have been determined to read more by her. However, I didn't get around to it until recently when The Best of Us, her newest book, ended up in my hands. Thankfully, The Best of Us was an amazing and well crafted tale that brought laughs as well as tears and pulled on my heartstrings constantly. So basically, I'm now beating myself up for not reading more by her sooner!

The Best of Us tells the story of four women, three friends since college and one newcomer, who are brought together for a friend's lavish, week long birthday celebration in Jamaica. For Tina, the trip means finally getting a break from her adorable but exhausting children and getting closer to her husband Gio. Allie, on the other hand, hopes the trip will put her mind at ease at a recent and shocking revelation, one that may change everything for her and her precious family. Savannah, a soon to be divorcee, hopes the trip will also provide distraction... from her impending divorce and the feelings she still feels toward her husband. Last but not least, Pauline, the organizer of the party and wife of the man who the party is for, hopes this celebration will serve as a way to get to know her husband's friends among other things. What will happen to each of these women and their husbands? Only time and more pages will tell in this shocking and page-turning tale that will have any reader dying to know what will happen next.

As mentioned before, I'm always a little hesitant to begin books that are told from multiple POVs. However, I'm happy to report this tactic worked quite well for The Best of Us. Sarah did a great job of digging into each women's lives and bringing their unique voices to life. I felt that each was well developed, and truthfully, I came to root and like every one of them....even though they did all have their moments. What I liked most about Allie, Tina, Pauline, and Savannah, though, was that they were just average, ordinary women, trying to make it in this world. Each was faced with hard and sometimes deadly problems within the book (from tumultuous diseases to marriage problems to stay-at-home-mom blues) and the solution to them weren't always easy and cookie-cutter clean. Instead, it took work and some mistakes to make things work, which made The Best of Us even better, in my opinion.

Moving on, I really enjoyed the plot in this one as well. I'm always happy to read contemporary, especially when tropical vacations are involved. Like I said above, the book had a lot to do with each woman and her problems, and this really kept the book moving along. I was constantly dying to know what would occur next. Like whether or not Savannah would end up back with her husband, or what exactly Allie was facing. Plus I especially enjoyed the little twists and turns introduced half way through. One in particular really managed to shock me, but I won't say any more about that.

Sarah's writing was also fantastic. She did a great job of developing each character and keeping the book moving. However, at times, I did feel that the book was occasionally a little stilted, especially at first when everything was setting up.

In all, The Best of Us is an enjoyable new addition to the adult contemporary genre, and while I didn't enjoy it as much as Skipping a Beat, it's still something I highly suggest. I can't wait to see what Sarah has up next!

Grade: A-

The Best of Us (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads) will be released April 9!

Source: Publicist- thanks Emily! 

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