Paperback, 270 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by Melissa Hanson
On a bitter cold winter night Bailey Walsh’s family was killed in a traffic accident. Two years later as she lives with her aunt and uncle in Southern California, Bailey is still plagued by the nightmares of that terrible night. Everywhere around her are reminders of what she lost. Even her aunt, in a cruel twist of fate, is not just her mom’s sister, but her identical twin. Babysitting Riley, a spunky two-year old, is a sweet distraction and one constant light in her life. One day as she takes Riley to the park she meets Collin McKenna, a senior at her high school and her life is changed forever as he helps her find herself and realize her life is worth living. As the romance between them grows her broken heart begins to heal. However, still nagging in the back of her conscious is the fear that her newfound happiness could come crashing down and she could lose everything she loves, yet again. Outside forces begin to tear them apart and Bailey must learn to trust in herself and realize that she is worthy of happiness. That sometimes love and healing comes in unexpected forms.
The ever so generous Ms. Melissa A. Hanson (http://www.mahwriting.com/) had sent me copies of her books in exchange for honest reviews so here goes my review for the first book, A Healing Heart… 🙂
IF I STAY – this novel by Gayle Forman first came into my mind after reading the prologue. The books have the same start – a car accident forever changes the life of the girl protagonist. Bailey’s family was stripped off from her in an instant – thus the nightmares and heartaches. She was feeling guilty – why was she the only that had survived? With the help of her aunt, uncle, her newfound friends, Mia and Natasha, and of course Eileen and baby Riley, she eventually learned to go on with her life after the accident. However, the changes in her life do not end there.
A new guy came into the town, a handsome one named Collin McKenna. He and Bailey eventually became friends and then more than friends. They started dating each other, and Bailey eventually began to fall in love with him. However, their journey as a couple wasn’t as easy as it seemed – accidents and a
slutty blonde (sorry for the word ) had tried to rip them apart.
Honestly, I rarely read YA romance novels. I’m am usually fond of crime fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, chick-lit, and NA novels that have just a hint of romance. That’s why reading this book was completely new to me. It was a fresh read for a mind like mine that’s used to analyze the twists of a crime fiction novel. Maybe it’s the reason why I was expecting for the book to have such a mind-blowing twist in the end. I was thinking that maybe Collin’s father was the driver that had caused Bailey’s family’s car accident, explaining the McKennas’ move from town to town. I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t.
On the other hand, I like how the story unfolded. There were several mishaps that challenged BaiLin’s (I made a name for their love team ) relationship but their love was still there for them to hold on to. Despite some petty fights over some misunderstandings, they still forgive each other. They made me believe that there’s always a second chance when it’s true love. (You’ll know what I meant by that when you read the book. ) Also, the book itself had conveyed its message – YOU WILL BE THE ONLY ONE THAT CAN HEAL YOURSELF COMPLETELY.
Here are some of the lines from the book that I like (or love ):
“It was almost as if an electric current jolted through me as soon as our eyes made contact.”
“Life’s too short; you have to live everyday like it’s your last. That’s the way I try to live.”
“It’s like forces were moving beyond our control, tossing us into each other’s paths.”
“I love you so much, my heart hurts.”
“As much as I wanted the entire fairy tale, the happy ending, I knew it was just that – a fairy tale, and fairy tales didn’t come true in real life. I had gotten swept up in the thrill, the excitement, and thinking maybe, just maybe, fairy tales could come true, but I was wrong.”
“Seeing her standing there alone, tears streaking down her face, and knowing that I was leaving the girl I loved more than anything else in this world was one of the most difficult things I’d ever done in my entire life.”
“Her pain cut through me so deeply I wondered if I’d ever be the same again.”
“Watching her walk away from me, I felt like half of myself was being ripped apart.”
“I realized now that love is not just excitement, tenderness, feeling special; it is also a bone-crushing reality of pain.”
“It felt as if my heart had been ripped entirely out of my body, but the paradox was, the heartache was the only thing that felt real right now.”
“What I didn’t understand before was that no one could heal me; I needed to be able to heal myself.”
This book is not just a YA Romance that will make you swoon and feel good. This will also make you realize a lot of things, whether it be family-related or love life-related. You can also learn form the character’s experiences – the tragedies, heartbreaks, second chances. After reading this book, you will realize that there’s always a second chance for all of us. A second chance to choose between happiness and misery, between holding on and letting go. You – only you – will be the one to make that choice – to heal yourself eventually. Xoxo
MY RATING: ❤️❤️❤️❤️