ARC Review: “Who She Was” by Stormy Smith

Thank you to the author, Stormy Smith, for personally sending me an free physical ARC in exchange for an honest review. She also sent some swag and items that revolved around the story. 🙂 I’ll post a full picture of the items after the review.

Who She WasTitle: Who She Was
Author: Stormy Smith
Publisher: Perfect Storm Publishing, LLC.
Expected release date: May 4, 2017
Length: 320 pages (paperback)
Genre: New adult, contemporary, romance
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) Trevor Adler loathes the music he used to love, but it’s the key to his full-ride scholarship and the ticket away from his dysfunctional parents. To kick off their freshman year, Trevor’s roommate drags him to a frat party, where he ends up face-to-face with his childhood best friend and finds himself entrenched in memories he’d rather forget.

Unable to let Charlie go again without understanding the truth of why she disappeared from his life and chose to become the type of person they always hated, Trevor is relentless in his pursuit of the girl he once knew.

Charlotte (Charlie) Logan is broken. Under her perfectly-crafted exterior are the shards of a shattered heart. A handful of angry words changed her life completely and Charlie’s never been able to forgive herself for the truth she’s hidden from everyone.

While Trevor pushes Charlie to remember the music that lit her soul and the laughter they shared, they find themselves reverting to a banter-filled rhythm that feels all too familiar, yet different now. When Trevor’s own secrets come to light, it becomes clear he and Charlie both must face their tragic pasts if they have any hope at a future together.”

three and a half starsMy Thoughts

First off, let’s take a moment to admire the cover because wow, it’s so gorgeous! I love the fading colors! It’s so pretty to take pictures with, too! 😉

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but I did have some minor problems with it that I will address. This book was self-published, but it was well edited. Truthfully, I don’t read many of those but when the author approached me, the synopsis intrigued me. Normally, I’m not one to pick up the whole “we were childhood best friends but grew apart for X reason and then we meet up again later in life.” But there was a hint of mysteriousness in this, and a mutual love of music that I appreciated.

There were some scenes that could have done with a few more edits. Because I am a bit of a fangirl, I noticed the off things: using “Samwise Gamgees” in one paragraph and then “Samwise Gamgee” in another some pages later. Along with the lack of “The” in front of The Hunger Games. There are a variety of references to other fandoms and some early 2000s pop songs (John Mayer! <3) that made me smile. (It also makes me feel kind of old.)

As for the characters, I liked both of them. Trevor and Charlie are 18 and freshmen in college. As the story progresses, we see they’ve done many things, not because they wanted to, but because their parents wanted them to. I’m also intrigued how parents push many of their hopes and dreams onto their children, and how we, as the children, come to terms with it. We want to make our parents happy, but where’s the line? Where do my parents’ dreams end and ours really begin? The two characters also have a rough home life, in similar and different ways. There are many moments when their interactions with their parents, and the outcome, become a shaping force for the character to determine what or how they respond. It’s also a look at how individuals handle grief in the aftermath of horrific events.

I appreciated how Trevor gave Charlie space. When she needed to figure things out on her own, he wasn’t hanging around, nagging her. He truly let her figure out who she was (see what I did there? 😉 ). With everything that Charlie went through and the guilt and blame she placed on herself, it’s a lot to sort through. One of things I wasn’t sure about was the brief mentions of Charlie have panic or anxiety attacks. I’ve never dealt with those, but I was unsure how people reacted to physical touch while they’re having an attack. Everyone isn’t the same, but Charlie allowed Trevor to help her by touching her and simply being near. Charlie’s dad, we come to learn, has bi-polar disorder. I don’t have experience with this mental illness, so I can’t say if this was well-represented and handled, but I do appreciate Charlie’s willingness to work with her father. I disliked her mother’s lack of compassion in this area though.

Trevor and Charlie’s friendship grew stronger. The last time they saw each other, they were fourteen. A lot has happened and changed in the last four years, and what possibly started out as an infatuation was in desperate need to develop into something else. It’s a lot of misunderstanding that needed solid communication, and I think the two did that and handled it well.

Towards the end I did feel it dragging a bit. I appreciate Sam and Darcy’s openness, but I felt it turn into a sort of “Hey, I thought my life was kind of crappy too because of my parents…” thing. I understand we all have our own story to tell, but with everything going on with Trevor and Charlie’s families, I thought adding another one was too much.

You can find Who She Was on Amazon (it’s available for $0.99 on Kindle!) and Barnes and Noble. You can follow Stormy Smith on Twitter and Instagram, too!

Here’s the promised picture with all the goodies!

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