Published by Wendy Lamb Books on May 27th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.
When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellaya. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They're a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell's a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she's happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it's wrong, and she must do something about it.
I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
We Are the Goldens is a story of two sisters, Layla and Nell Golden. The entire story is told in Nell’s POV as she recounts events that take place through her freshman year and Layla’s junior year. These two sisters grew up extremely close to one another and could easily be described as not just sisters, but best friends. However, when Nell learns her sisters secret, the two grow apart and Nell struggles with how to handle what she knows.
I loved the voice this story had. While it wasn’t an entirely new style of writing for me, it was a breath of fresh air and a unique reading experience. I enjoyed getting to know Nell apart from her sister, even though you are able to get to know the duo formally known as Nellayla, at least according to toddler Nell. As I was reading this book, I couldn’t help but picture Nell sitting at desk and writing out this letter, this retelling, to her sister as a way to explain her thoughts, her experiences in a much more descriptive way. It could even be described as an apology in a way.
With this being set during Nell’s freshman year of high school, there is sense of self-discovering, both coming out of the shadow of her older sister, and also entering into a more grown-up world. And while this story is primarily about the relationship between two sisters, the secondary relationship between Nell and her best friend, Felix, really stood out to me.
I adored Felix and the way in which he was depicted in the writing. The friendship between him and Nell is one that I feel a lot of young readers can relate to. As I read deeper into the story, I loved how their relationship developed. Felix has become one of my most favorite secondary characters and I honestly wouldn’t mind a story focusing just on Nell and Felix. It would be full of wit and charm.
The constant struggle Nell faces with knowing her sisters secret and how to handle it, is what led to the sudden and abrupt ending. The ending could possibly be one of the most daunting cliff-hangers I’ve read, to date. It is left for your own interpretation though. For me, I have my own idea of the events that take place after Nell’s written story ends, but not every reader will have the same interpretation. So, I encourage you to read and determine for yourself what might have happened next.
4 out of 5 stars.