Reader Girls is one of many stops today on the final day of the Reflection Blog Tour hosted by YA Bound. We are posting our review of this YA contemporary and there is also a tour-wide giveaway below.
Reflection (Reflection Series) by Jessica Roberts
YA Contemporary*Release Date: 02/17/12*e-book, 289 pages*Published: S/P, 1 ed.
Bright, spunky Heather Robbins has escaped her small hometown and is anxiously beginning her freshman year of college. Rising above her rocky childhood, she’s found a place where good things are finally starting to happen: her own private apartment, refreshing college classes, and an intense attachment to a mysterious and rugged classmate, Nick Richards.
But when her dreamy college life turns out to be nothing more than a wonderful dream while resting in a coma, questions threaten.
Now, Heather must press forward to unlock the real past, and find the answers buried deep in her mind. What she unlocks instead is a roller coaster ride through flashbacks, embellished memories, and a whirlwind romance.
And when it’s all over and she comes face to face with the truth, will she lose everything she’s fallen in love with?
About the Author
JESSICA ROBERTS grew up in the San Francisco, California Bay Area where she spent most of her time playing sports alongside her six siblings. She was crowned Miss Teen California her senior year of high school, and went on to Brigham Young University where she graduated in Human Development. Her love of family, church, writing, athletics, and singing and dancing keeps her life busy and fulfilled.
She currently resides in Utah with her husband and three children.
I haven't read a contemporary YA quite like Jessica Roberts' Reflection. Gayle Forman's If I Stay series did come to mind, particularly the first book, If I Stay, but these stories only shared a main character in a coma and that is it. Heather has a fire in her belly and no one can blame her. A few days after high school graduation she is saying goodbye to her best friend, Creed, and heading off to her new life by beginning college in the summer session. Her mother died from cancer and her stepfather is a drunk.
In college, Jessica is a fish out of water and her innocent, small town girl ways are evident in her behavoir. At one point, a bunch of classmates are shocked when she announces she doesn't have a cell phone. With a spunky attitude, a passion for living, and a spirited nature, college life enables Heather to let down her guard a bit (or those walls she enacted after her mother's passing). When distant hunk, Nick Richards makes her heart beat faster, she fights it but over the weeks they become friends until their friendship turns into something more. With Creed's gold "promise ring" on her finger, Nick tells her as long as she's not married, in his eyes she's available. But Heather is reluctant to being totally honest with Nick and creates a family she doesn't have. How can she expect their relationship to flourish if she can't be truthful to the guy she's falling for?
By taking a typical country girl in a big town college scenario and adding a unique twist to this formula, the author has created a fascinating novel of the strength of the mind, its memories and outside stimuli like sounds and smells, and by telling parts of the story through hazy memories almost gives readers a surreal experience while reading. Once I got through the slow moving beginning with Heather being practically uncomfortable in her own skin during her first days on campus, when the tension with Nick was established, I was hooked into their story. What would Creed do? Would Heather tell him about Nick? I couldn't wait to see what happened next.
Heather was such a different character and she grew on me. She liked to fix her car, fix things in general, loved to run, and yet was also scarred by losing her mother. Her "chinks" made her more endearing and as her story with Nick was revealed I forgot I was reading a book. There were so many places where the writing was lovely, especially when Heather was describing her increasing feelings for Nick (and later on, analyzing their relationship). Watching her fall in love was like experiencing it again for the first time (for those of us who have already 'fallen') and it was wonderful. There were many times I wondered if Nick was real as Heather awakens from her coma and learns to sift her reality from stimulants which impacted her during her hospitalization.
Once the story took off with Heather recovering/remembering/wondering if the images in her mind were fact or fiction, I felt as though I was in her hospital watching her. The premise of Reflection and about coma patients with "PRS" was incredible and has made this story stick in my mind. I gasped at the ending and gasped again when I read the teaser for the next book, Reaction. Powerful feelings, emotions, ideas about life/death/love, the beauty of falling in love (along with the reader falling in love with Heather and Nick), Reflection was an unforgettable story. Now I need to get a copy of Reaction, stat!
Rating: 4.5 I would also classify this as a Mature YA/Older YA novel since the MC is in college.
Cover comment: I like it, the way the model is on the ground, staring out or reflecting on something. My only gripe is I thought Heather was described as being a "brunette" and not blond.
Book source: I received an eARC from the author in return for my honest review during a book blog tour.
Today's other stops on the tour:
The giveaway is for (1) $25 Amazon gift card plus an e-copy of Reflections
plus (9) additional Reflection e-books. Open Internationally.