Relative Strangers by Paula Garner ARC Review

**Thank you to  Candlewick Press and Netgalley for the Relative Strangers Advance Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.

Lately I’ve been reading a ton of contemporary books and Relative Strangers was one of the best ones I’ve read so far!

Everything about the story was captivating and it hit a spot. I cannot say I relate to the situation the main character goes through, but I definitely understands the way she feels.

It’s weird to explain!

Anyhow, let’s hear what the book is all about, shall we?

29494232Why is there a gap in Jules’s baby album? A wry and poignant coming-of-age novel about finding the truth in lies, salvaging hope in heartbreak, and making peace with missing pieces.

Eighteen-year-old Jules has always wished for a close-knit family. She never knew her father, and her ex-addict mother has always seemed more interested in artistic endeavors than in bonding with her only daughter. Jules’s life and future look as flat and unchanging as her small Illinois town. Then a simple quest to find a baby picture for the senior yearbook leads to an earth-shattering discovery: for most of the first two years of her life, Jules lived in foster care. Reeling from feelings of betrayal and with only the flimsiest of clues, Jules sets out to learn the truth about her past. What she finds is a wonderful family who loved her as their own and hoped to adopt her — including a now-adult foster brother who is overjoyed to see his sister again. But as her feelings for him spiral into a devastating, catastrophic crush — and the divide between Jules and her mother widens — Jules finds herself on the brink of losing everything.

***

This book you guys, this book.  I was sort of expecting a romance book, but at the same time that felt like the wrong thing to expect from this kind of story.

Relative Strangers gets 4 stars out of 5 in the Then There Were Books review book.

Okay let me start by saying I loved this story. I truly did and there are not very many books that I like where romance is not the final sort of destination to the story.

What I mean is, for me to really love a story (as weird as it is) romance has to be a huge part of the plot, and even though this one does have a romantic subplot, it is not important to the development of the story until it is and for the wrong reasons.

Okay, I don’t think I’m explaining myself as good as I want, but maybe that’s okay. Maybe that will spark some interest in you and you will decide to pick up this awesome story when it comes out just to know what the hell I’m talking about.

And that would be awesome.

So let me tell you about Relative Strangers, when I first requested this book, I have to be honest I wasn’t totally into the description. I mean it did spark my interest, but I wasn’t totally looking forward to getting the book. But once I did and actually started reading it, I was extremely thankful that I actually got to read it.

Relative Strangers follows Jules in her journey of discovering who she is and how some events that happened early in her life have shaped the way her life is now.

What I wasn’t expecting of this story is is just how real and honest if felt to me. Not in the sense of how things developed, but in how good Garner was at describing the feelings the character was experiencing.

Man was I impressed. There are not very many books that hit me in the feels, but this book managed to do just that. I just felt the pain and the doubt and pretty much everything Jules was feeling. Maybe I was just in a sad mood or something and that is why I just FELT her pain the way I did.

Thought I would like to believe that is the writing that did such thing to me.

Obviously everything wasn’t totally perfect in the story and I do have to point out what I wasn’t totally on board with.

The thing that bothered me the most I will say is Jules’ foster brother, Luke.

He wasn’t bad per say, he was actually an amazing character and super nice to Jules, is just that he had all these memories and all these, brother like feelings for Jules and sometimes he expressed them a little too much and expected Jules to just go with the siblings feelings. But to me  he was a little immature and should have been more understanding of the fact that even though he had amazing memories of Jules being his “sister” she had none of that.

Also it was kind of weird for the story to like go THERE, you know, making Jules have feelings for this guy, though I understand why it was done at the same time.

Here is this guy who acts as if you are the center of his universe because he didn’t think he’d see you ever again, any young girl (I mean even to an older girl too) would develope feelings that weren’t at all acceptable.

So even though that was problematic, it was realistic as hell.

And that is why this story is awesome!

There is all the family drama you would expect, hearts are broken, too many emotions and a conclusion that leaves you with hope and that is just what we all need in life. Hope.

Hope that things will get better, that no matter what there is always a tomorrow.

Relative Strangers comes out April 10 so go and pre-order! You will not regret it!!!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

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