Thursday, January 16, 2014

Accidents & Incidents by Riley Graham

The Basics:
Accidents & Incidents by Riley Graham
Indie Inked
YA Romance
Published Nov 24, 2013

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Sometimes finding love means taking the scenic route …

Living with her faultfinding mother has taught Leslie not to ask for much. Just watch your step, stay on the sidelines, and take what you can get. But she wants a mom who thanks her for cleaning the kitchen instead of yelling at her for missing a spot, and a boyfriend who does more than score her a seat at the popular table—someone who actually notices her sitting there.

So when Cain, the school heartbreaker, turns his Carolina blue eyes her way, Leslie can’t help but be tempted, even if he’s her boyfriend’s best friend. Things get even more complicated when Leslie strikes up unlikely friendships with Meredith, Cain’s girlfriend, and Dennis, a boy addicted to cigarettes and solitude. Despite his tough exterior, Dennis seems to understand Leslie in a way that no one ever has, and to need her as much as she needs him.

For the first time in her life, Leslie feels like she could belong. She’s just not sure where. Will she ring in the New Year with the right guy, or end up right back where she started—alone?

Why I picked up this book:

I had sympathy for Leslie after just the first paragraph of the blurb. I needed to read this with my fingers crossed that everything would turn out okay for her.

My thoughts:

I don't have a lot to say about this read, but I did think Accidents & Incidents is a really solid depiction of high school. The characters all have their own problems and agendas that seemed plausible to me.

One thing I really liked was that there was very little apology for anyone's behaviour or personality, but instead the book creates space for understanding. For example, as I learned about Leslie's mom, it was easier to understand why she talked to Leslie the way she did, even though I didn't really want to forgive her for it. There's some discussion in the book about whether understanding why people behave the way they do can help excuse that behaviour. It's an interesting question within the context of this story and I think ultimately it comes down to the individual.

I think Leslie's perspective is also fairly honest - she quite often makes assumptions about people and events based on what she sees without a lot of consideration for what circumstances may be beyond what she knows. She's human and she makes mistakes, but I think she's muddling through the best that she can, and I quite liked her. I thought that she did some things that were particularly teen-like - her crush on Cain, for example, and how that plays out.

I'm not sure this was a real standout YA book for me, but it was definitely a good read. I was hooked early on, eager to know how things would turn out for Leslie, and hoping for the best.

Bottom line:

This is a YA book that acknowledges without apology that life is messy and emotional. Sometimes there are happy endings and sometimes there are just endings. I liked that it creates space for understanding without attempting to redeem or forgive. It felt authentic to me, and I enjoyed reading it. I'd definitely recommend it to contemporary YA fans.

4 stars
For fans of contemporary YA, stories of loss, YA romance.

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