Author: Kristin Halbrook
Reading Level: Young Adult
Expected Release: April 21, 2015
Review Source: Harper Teen
Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson and Gayle Forman, Every Last Promise is a provocative and emotional novel about a girl who must decide between keeping quiet and speaking up after witnessing a classmate's sexual assault.
Kayla saw something at the party that she wasn't supposed to. But she hasn't told anyone. No one knows the real story about what happened that night—about why Kayla was driving the car that ran into a ditch after the party, about what she saw in the hours leading up to the accident, and about the promise she made to her friend Bean before she left for the summer.
Now Kayla's coming home for her senior year. If Kayla keeps quiet, she might be able to get her old life back. If she tells the truth, she risks losing everything—and everyone—she ever cared about.
When I saw on Goodreads that this was "perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson," I thought, "Wow, that's some big shoes to fill!" Anderson is one of my most favorite authors of all time and I knew there was no way they could compare someone to her awesomeness. Don't you love being proven wrong?
At first I was a little confused...the story kept jumping around to different times and I couldn't figure it out. Honestly, I almost gave up on it! I'm glad I didn't though, because I loved this story. It took a few pages in to get used to the flashbacks. It's broken up into Spring, which is the flashback, and the fall, which is the present. I loved how it was set up and it helped the reader put all of the pieces together. It made the story unique and stand out from the other books I've been reading.
I also adored Kayla as a character. Some people would think she's crazy for wanting to stay home in a small town while all of her friends are heading off to college. Some people would say that it's not realistic. I beg to differ. If you grew up in a small Texas town like me, you feel the nostalgia that Kayla feels for hers. The late night parties, the football gods, and the sense of family throughout the whole town makes you feel safe and relaxed. I like that Kayla was real and you could feel her struggles with her. She had something major happen to her and her whole life turned upside down. The book isn't all roses, it deals with some heavy stuff.
Overall, I truly loved this story and can't wait for it to get into the hands of the readers. Because of some of the scenes and the topic of sexual assault, I wouldn't give this to anyone under thirteen. I would feel comfortable giving it to my older middle school and high school students. I look forward to reading more from this author!