Our Song by Jordanna Fraiberg
YA contemporary*Hardcover/eBook, 352 pages
Published May 2nd 2013 by Razorbill
Olive Bell has spent her entire life in the beautiful suburb of Vista Valley, with a picture-perfect home, a loving family, and a seemingly perfect boyfriend. But after a near-fatal car accident, she s haunted by a broken heart and a melody that she cannot place.
Then Olive meets Nick. He s dark, handsome, mysterious … and Olive feels connected to him in a way she can t explain. Is there such a thing as fate? The two embark on a whirlwind romance until Nick makes a troubling confession.
Heartbroken, Olive pieces together what really happened the night of her accident and arrives at a startling revelation. Only by facing the truth can she uncover the mystery behind the song and the power of what it means to love someone.
Under the shroud of darkness, I stared at Nick. It wasn't just his physical features that defined him. It was everything: from the way he moved to his battered car to his frayed jeans and his broken watch. He clearly didn't care what anyone else thought of him, like he was used to being the only one around, the way we were in the vast open desert.
I reached into my bag and took out the camera. Like my copy of Mrs. Dalloway, I had been carrying it around every day, since the day I had taken it. But this was the first time I was inspired to use it.
"You're a photographer?" Nick asked, propping himself up on his elbows.
"Hardly." I was glad it was dark because I felt my cheeks start to burn again. "I just...borrowed this from someone."
I got up and walked over to the tree looming precariously next to us. The branches were gnarled and twisted, but up close, intricate patterns, like interweaving veins, emerged beneath the charred top layer. I removed the lens cap, zoomed in, and adjusted the aperture. As more moonlight filled the small glass frame, I understood what Nick meant. And he was right. It was ugly-beautiful.
When I looked back, he was lying down and his eyes were closed. Without thinking, I aimed the camera toward his face, zoomed in as close as possible, and clicked.
He opened them a minute later, after I had already screwed the lens cap back on and the camera was dangling from the strap around my shoulder. But it still felt like I had been caught in the act, like I had stolen something from him.
Jordanna Fraiberg was born in Montreal, Quebec, and currently lives in L.A., where she settled after receiving degrees from Harvard and Oxford. A former national squash champion and Hollywood film executive, she now divides her time between dreaming up stories and chasing her toddler. She is the author of Our Song and In Your Room.
Our Song is a character-driven Young Adult contemporary. Olive is recovering from a car accident where she died for three minutes and was brought back. Now she hears a song being sung in her head. She can't figure out who's singing or the title. What she knows is her new life is not like her old one. Her boyfriend, Derek, has moved onto someone else, her mother hovers close by, afraid of what she may do, and the kids in school think she tried to kill herself in that accident. Was it an accident? Was she given a second chance like her best friend thinks? Olive begins to look at living life in a whole new way when she meets Nick at a support group meeting. Maybe he'll be the one to help her recover and face the facts about that dark rainy night when she was behind the wheel.
I found the story sentimental and quite introspective. The pacing was slower than I wanted, and at times seemed to drag mired down in Olive's thoughts. Her need to hold onto Derek became annoying. The guy didn't visit her once in her two week hospital stay. Two weeks and he's a no show? They dated for two years and he never changed hos Facebook status. The, awhile dating a cheerleader, his status changes. Wake up, Olive.
Olive's voice was consistently introspective, gathering strength the longer she spends time with Nick. The story touched upon issues such as loss, acceptance, recovery, coming of age and growing comfortable with one's sexuality, rebellion and depression and yet, not one really remained with me afterwards. The issues weren't fully addressed. I grew to like Olive but never connected with her. Nick remained mysterious with his hidden secrets and haunted look. I liked that he brought out the real girl hidden inside. Annie was also an important character, telling Olive what she needed to hear and always offering her support.
Our Song is a quiet book, drawing you in, and letting you surmise what you want. Olive transforms after her accident because her life before was stifling, though she may not have seen it before. Nick is a gust of fresh air, awakening things in her. They're cut together but his past and his secrets lurk in the background. I wanted closure with the song, one part of the story I expected to see delved into more but it wasn't. Overall, Our Song kept my interest and I rooted for Olive.
Very romantic cover but I don't think it reflects the story.