I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I had no idea that this novel was a part of a series, but it became fairly obvious after the first few pages. Nevertheless, I decided to read this novel and base my opinions on only this one story.
The Sweeneys have had their fair share of conflicts, but they have always managed to come together because of their sense of family, their love for each other, and their willingness to forgive. But the latest crisis may be the one that undoes them.
At the heart of the matter are 16-year-old Annie Bethune, who is the ward of Faith and Mike Sweeney, and her boyfriend, Cooper. When Annie discovers that she is pregnant, she has to make a decision about what she is going to do. And while she appreciates everyone’s support, she soon begins to feel like a puppet with everyone telling her what to do. As a family feud develops, Annie is unable to handle the pressure, and runs away … right into the arms of danger.
Most of the story is about Annie and the pregnancy. We hear each character’s opinion on what they think she should, and we also see what motivates each characters’ opinion. For instance, Faith has never been able to conceive so she wants Annie to keep the child. Cooper’s mother, Jackie, wants Annie to have an abortion because she doesn’t want Cooper’s future to be ruined. The list goes on and on. While the story definitely explores all of the different viewpoints at length, many parts of this novel didn’t work for me.
Since I read this book out of order from the rest of the series, I was extremely confused by all of the family ties. Jackie is Faith’s sister, and there’s someone named Eli who is connected in some other way, and then … oh, it was just a lot to keep straight in my head! Maybe it is better explained in the previous novels, but I was getting lost a lot on these details and that took away my focus from the story itself. I also found that there were way too many subplots and motivations going on, and it made the story more convoluted instead of complex. There really wasn’t much of a focus throughout the story, and it made everything so muddled. Because of all of this, I felt like the seriousness of the issue being discussed in this novel wasn’t handled well; the way the characters were dealing with it and talking about the consequences was really childish and tactless. Even the way in which the characters spoke was unbelievable and immature. In the end, this novel let me down because it didn’t handle the gravity of the situation well and came off as being very immature.