ARC Book Review: We Are The Goldens

We Are The Goldens CoverBook: We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

Expected Publication is May 27, 2014 by Wendy Lamb Books|Expected Number Of Pages: 138

Where I Got It: from netgalley.com, which hasn’t influenced my review in any way.  Promise!

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

You can find We Are The Goldens on goodreads & Dan Reinhardt on her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.

When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellaya. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They’re a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell’s a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she’s happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it’s wrong, and she must do something about it.

What I Thought:

We Are The Goldens seemed really interesting just looking at the summary, and I really wanted to like it…but I found that I just couldn’t get into the book at all.

My biggest issue with the book- which kind of leads to most everything else I didn’t like- is how it’s narrated. It’s narrated by Nell, who is Layla’s younger sister.  It’s like you’re reading a letter that Nell wrote to Layla about everything that happened when Nell started high school.

This didn’t work (for me) for several reasons.

One: It made it feel like Layla had died and Nell was telling her what was going on.  I was definitely surprised that Layla, in fact, lived through the entire book…and it was not a good surprise.  It just felt like Nell was talking to her sister who had died. And there was definitely this feel of how Nell felt about the events that led to Layla’s death, so I spent almost the entire book waiting for Layla to die.

Two: I felt like I didn’t get how close/intertwined they were…because all we see is Layla ignoring her older sister.  I didn’t understand why Nell worshiped the ground Layla walked on, because Layla seemed like a horrible sister who didn’t care about Nell.  We see very little (if anything, because I honestly can’t remember) of what their relationship was like before the events of the book started unfolding.  It was also hard to understand how much Layla had changed because you didn’t get a sense of who she was before.  I’m not the biggest fan of multiple narrators, but I think this is a case where I would have loved some chapters from Layla’s perspective, to have what was really going on with her.  It also would have put her relationship with Nell in perspective because you’d see it from a different angle.

Three: Nell came across as a whiny brat who couldn’t survive life without her sister.  I felt like Nell was all “poor me, high school isn’t as magical and awesome as I was hoping because my sister isn’t paying that much attention to me anymore.”  I would have liked for Nell to come into her own, and step out of her sister’s shadow.  And be less dependent on her sister.  It felt like Nell needed Layla more than Layla needed Nell.

And so when we find out Layla’s secret…it felt random, and it wasn’t what I was expecting, given how the book started off. Mostly because the way it was narrated made it seem like something horribly tragic happened, like suicide (or even something else, like a tragic accident).  Not that what Layla’s secret wasn’t horrible, because it was, but…still unexpected given how it starts, and how Nell thinks that she could have prevented it if she had been a sophomore instead of a freshman. I also wish that Nell had said something sooner, instead of spending a lot of the book trying to decide what to do.  I get that she feels like she’s betraying her sister if she says something, but her indecision just really irritated me.

Speaking of death: why was she talking to the Creed brothers?  Especially since her only connection to them seemed to be the annual Creed holiday party that Nell went to with her parents.  Not only that, but the Creed brothers are dead.  And her conversations with them really had no relevance to everything else that happened.  I just don’t understand why the Creed brothers were written into the book.

Another reason why I didn’t like We Are The Goldens is the ending, which is way too open-ended for my liking.  I don’t mind open-ended books, but with this one?  I wanted so much more resolution than what we got.  I wanted to see what happened after the book ended.  It ended a little too abruptly for me, and I couldn’t believe that the way ended was…well, how it ended. I feel like the book could have been a lot longer, considering it’s not much over 100 pages.

Let’s Rate It:

I just couldn’t get into We Are The Goldens, which left me really frustrated!  I wish we saw more of Layla and the close relationship she and Nell supposedly had before Layla started going through some stuff.  The bond between these two sisters could have been explored a lot better, in my opinion.  We Are The Goldens gets 1 star.

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