Then and Always by Dani Atkins is a novel about lost love through tragedy. As the main character, Rachel, is at a final good bye dinner with her friends before they all go their separate ways to college or university, a devastating end comes to their dinner, leaving the whole group of friends confused, and Rachel heartbroken. The accident affects her in the worst possible way, resulting in her giving up on her dreams of going to school to become a journalist, and it also makes her lose just a little bit of hope that she had in life before. The novel then focuses in on her life 5 years later, and how she still hasn’t managed to move on, which will be even more difficult now that she is returning home to the place where her life was singlehandedly destroyed.
Personally, I really did genuinely enjoy this book. The writing style of the author fit this book perfectly. The characters are so easy to fall in – and out – of love with. They are all really believable, and that in turn adds more believability to the plot line, which gets pretty crazy. Rachel, the main character, is rightfully devastated by the events of what happened that night of the high school dinner. Usually the main character in many novels will be that one person to be stronger than anything and anyone. But this novel isn’t like that. It goes beyond the conventional main-character-is-strong kind of thing that goes on in other books that I’ve read. This book pushes this boundary, and finds a different way to spin this usual plot line into something amazing. In this book, we also have Jimmy, the innocent best friend-who-wants-to-be-more kind of person, Matt the hot/rich type of guy who totally does NOT deserve Rachel…and the list goes on with the typical group of close friends. The truth behind the relationships of the characters is exactly like real life, and it doesn’t come off as tacky as it might seem to some people. If you’re thinking this book is the usual “group of friends are close, tragedy, no one is the same, but happy ending anyways” kind of book, then you are 100% wrong.
The genre of this book is really cool. It’s a mystery-romance kind of fusion, and I love this style! The whole mystery behind the story is WHO exactly Rachel is (if you want to find out more..well, just read the book haha)! What made me completely fall in love with this book was that to me, it seemed like some sort of Wizard of Oz meets Amnesia Novel book. You know those books that deal with the main character suffering from amnesia? Sort of like that. The whole story it seemed that Rachel was Dorothy, waking up in a world that she no longer knew. Except this book was better. And much more entertaining.
Overall, this book is an easy 9/10, because of the loveable characters and it’s an easy read. I deducted one point, only because this whole book I was ok with what was going on, but then the last 2-3 pages I just started loosing it and I cried, and I didn’t have any kleenex with me and I got the pages of the book all wet. If you love romantic tales, then this is a great read for you! If you’re not so keen on romance, well then this is a great story for you to start with because you’re not going to want to miss out on this book. Bottom line, you need to read Then and Always by Dani Atkins. It’s going to be a best seller for this summer!