Monday, December 4, 2017

Bright Side - Review

Bight Side (Bright Side, # 1)

By: Kim Holden

Published: July 4th 2014 by Do Epic LLC

423 pages

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary

Source: Personal Kindle Library

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Goodreads description--Secrets.
Everyone has one.
Some are bigger than others.
And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you ...
And some will end you.

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks.

They both feel it.
But they each have a reason to fight it.
They each have a secret.

And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.

I'm not sure why, but the last three out of four books I've read have involved a very similar topic. I haven't sought it out. This has actually been quite random as one was recently recommended to me just as a really good read, one was recommended several months ago and just happened to go on sale recently, and the other was one I received for review. I didn't know anything about the two that were recommended to me, and only read the book description for the other before requesting it for review. Yet each book has been a good bit different from the others. I'll just focus on Bright Side for this review, but I had to mention the coincidence.

As the description says, Kate is extremely optimistic. This is a choice she's made and continually makes to live and think this way. She could easily be negative or pessimistic considering the things that she's been through in her life. Yet she isn't. And this was by far my favorite character trait that she possesses. It takes an incredible individual to choose to see the bright side of every situation they're faced with. So many times characters, and people, just whine and complain and portray themselves as victims. But Kate chooses not to do this.

Kate is also loyal and kind. Because of the difficult things that she's been through and endured she understands how much it means when someone is there for you through your worst days. And how much of a difference it makes when you reach out to someone else, be it to offer them a kind word, take them on as a friend, or to simply sit by them when they make the toughest decisions of their lives.

Yet Kate, and Bright Side, touch on a few subjects that I don't personally support. Despite that, I still fell in love with this story. One of my biggest frustrations with Bright Side was the amount of language. There are f-bombs all over the place. I mean it was really quite ridiculous and this caused me to put the book down rather frequently while reading the first half.

The other characters are vivid as well. Keller and Gus...boy it wasn't always easy to choose between the two. I expected (because I didn't read the description of this book before picking it up), that Kate and Gus would work things out and move past their friendship and into a relationship. Yet when Keller enters the story, I could easily see that Gus wasn't likely to win Kate's heart. Yet Gus still remained my favorite character besides Kate due to his intense friendship with her. Clayton, Peter, Shelly, Duncan, and Stella round out the main cast of side characters. Each added a necessary component to who Kate really was.

I should also mention that Kate doesn't claim to be religious, yet she frequently talked to God throughout the book. Characters that actually believe in God enough to talk to Him are incredibly rare in mainstream young adult and new adult literature. At least that I've found. (Excluding the Christian genre.) I appreciated Kate's relationship with God and this being included throughout the book even if I wish Kate took this relationship a bit further. Either way, thank you Kim Holden for not portraying God in a negative light, and for not having Kate resent Him for the things she's experienced in her life.

Favorite quotes:

-A person knowingly doing harm to his or her body is a pet peeve of mine. A lot of people would give anything for a healthy body. Your body is a temple.

-The happiness, the thoughtfulness, the humor was part of her, but it was also deliberate, a conscious choice.

Bright Side wasn't a perfect read for me as I struggled with the language, and a few side stories don't fit my personal reading preferences. However, this story broke me down. I cried FIVE (let me say that again....FIVE) times while reading this book. Granted, I'm sure a bit of that relates to pregnancy hormones. Plus every time I got to a scene that made me cry, I'd put the book down and come back after I'd composed myself...only to find myself in tears once again. I loved Kate's attitude and her tendency to talk to God. Bright Side gets 4.5 Stars. Have you read Bright Side? What did you think? Let me know!

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