By: Lauren Kottke & Ella Sutherland
‘The Year After You’ by Nina de Pass, is a heartfelt story about a girl named Cara. She is learning to let people in, and love others as well as herself.
Summary (contains spoilers):
On New Year’s Eve last year, Cara and her best friend G, went to a party. At the party something happens that gets G really upset. She ends up very drunk and tries to drive home, but before she can, Cara takes the keys away and drives because she is sober.
While they are driving they get into a car crash and G ends up dying. Cara feels very strong survivor guilt because she was the one driving. For a while — almost a year— she shut herself out from everyone and lost most of the joy she got from being with G.
She starts attending a boarding school that her mom decided she should go to because she can see that she is not happy. When she first gets there a girl named Ren shows her around. Ren turns out to be her roommate and her first friend at the school.
Cara has a lot of trouble letting Ren in, or even considering Ren her friend, because she doesn’t want to replace G. Ren introduced Cara to her other friends, Fred and Hector. Immediately, she feels something different with Hector, but she keeps him at an arm’s length away.
She has so many walls built up that it is hard to see the real her. Ren and Hector know that something is wrong and they want to know what it is. They try to get her to open up and it takes a long long time, but eventually they figure out what happened.
For Cara it felt good to get it off her chest, except that wasn’t the full truth. The reason G had been so upset that night was because she had made things official with her boyfriend, and then later that night she saw him cheating on her with Cara. The guilt Cara felt was extreme and that is why it was so hard for her to open herself up.
Cara and Hector develop a more romantic relationship. He gets her like no one else does because he has his own problems. They become very close and that is when she finally tells him the whole truth. At first he is caught off guard, but then he realizes that she has changed and she truly does feel bad.
Ella: I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was a very sad but amazing book. I loved Ren, she was my favorite character by far. I loved her energy and how nice she was to everyone. The romance between Hector and Cara really played out well in my opinion. I loved them together. I really liked how while she was finding friends, she was also finding herself. When she let these people in, she didn’t know it at the time, but it was a way of forgiving herself. Overall I give the book 4 out of 5 stars.
Lauren: This book was written really well. My favorite character was Ren as well. She had such an important role in getting Cara to be happy and find herself. Ren also had a very hard time, but she was always there for her friends and is just such a good person. I really loved the flashbacks to when Cara went to her old school, and G was still alive. It really made the connection to G stronger, which made the book even more sad. I give the book 4 out of 5 stars as well.
We both loved this book so much and we think you should definitely read it if you have a chance!