Wednesday, July 16, 2014

REVIEW: ASPEN by Rebekah Crane

Title: Aspen
Author: Rebekah Crane
Publisher: In This Together Media
Publication Date: June 5, 2014
Genres: YA, Contemporary Fiction
Reviewed by: Angie Edwards
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
My rating: 4/5


One quiet night in Boulder, Colorado, Aspen Yellow-Sunrise Taylor made a mistake.

In the next instant, her life changed forever.

Aspen doesn't want to remember the car accident that killed Katelyn Ryan, a sleek-haired popular soccer player. But forgetting is hard-- because Katelyn may have died -- but she didn't leave. Her ghost is following Aspen around, and heading into senior year, it's kind of a problem. Especially when Katelyn's former boyfriend Ben appears to be the only person at school with a clue as to how Aspen feels. 

Popularity, Homecoming Court, hot guys - none of these things ever mattered to Aspen. She's been busy trying to keep her stoner mother Ninny in line and out of unemployment. But with Ben sitting next to her in Physics and her therapist begging her to remember all the things she wants to forget, Aspen is thrust into a vivid, challenging world she can't control ... and doesn't want to. 

A darkly funny, emotionally gripping story of opening up, letting go, and moving on, Aspen is about the best-worst accident of your life ... and what comes next.


I requested this book for review from NetGalley because I fell in love with the cover the minute I saw it for the first time. Likewise, I also loved the characters in this book, as well the message that forms the heart of this quirky, yet moving, novel.

Aspen is an unusual character. So is her relationship with her mom, but that is exactly what kept me glued to the pages. I was outright fascinated by the reversed-roles bond Aspen has with her mother, whom she fondly refers to as Ninny. Although this is not the only focus point in the story, their interactions were what I enjoyed most. Both these characters grow exponentially, and each has to come to terms with choices they made in the past and the guilt they feel because of these choices.

Falling in love with Ben, who used to be the boyfriend of the now-deceased Katelyn, was never Aspen’s intention. Neither was it Ben’s. As someone who doesn’t care much for YA romance, I have to admit that the romance between Aspen and Ben was rather heartwarming, and like Aspen, a little unusual. Similarly, Suzy, a popular girl who used to be Katelyn’s best friend, goes out of her way to be friends with Aspen. In the beginning Aspen finds this sudden interest a little bothersome, but eventually she learns that Ben and Suzy shares a secret about the fateful accident that took Katelyn’s life, and, like Aspen, they also have mountains of guilt they’re dealing with.

Two memorable characters for me – apart from Aspen and her mother, Ninny – were Cass and Kim; Aspen’s two best friends. They were absolutely hilarious, bringing a lighter tone to a story with a serious message. Aspen is a quick and easy read, perfect for readers looking for a novel with a slightly surreal feel. If you, like me, think this book cover is simply gorgeous, I can assure you it is hiding a story as beautiful as the cover between its pages.


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Rebekah Crane fell in love with YA literature while studying Secondary English Education at Ohio University. After having two kids, living in six different cities, and finally settling down in the foothills of her beloved Rocky Mountains, her first novel, PLAYING NICE, was published. ASPEN, her second YA novel, set in Boulder, CO, is due to release in summer 2014 from In This Together Media. She now spends her day carpooling kids or tucked behind a laptop at 7,500 ft high in the Rockies, where the altitude only enhances the experience.

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