- Publication Date March 1st 2013
- Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
- Pages: 308
- Genre: Contemporary
Synopsis: Companion to Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker. Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt–with her.Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…
Much like Kenneally’s last book, Stealing Parker this book is about a good Christian girl. But unlike Parker in Stealing Parker, our main character Kate wants nothing more to stay that way. She likes being called a “a good, good girl.” Which is why every day she wrestles with helping with her estranged best friend’s abortion.
Kate tries to put all that behind her, but her summer job at Cumberland Creek Camp will test her faith and resolve and remind her there are some things she can’t forget.
This is the third book in Kenneally’s Thousand Oak collection and this novel has pretty much what I expect from her series writing and story-wise. Kenneally’s writing is to the point, casual and littered with sarcasm and jokes. Her stories involves introspective girls going through the emotions of first real romance. I think the biggest difference that seems to throw off so many reviewers is that Things I Can’t Forget has pretty much zero sports themes and more religious ones.
Our protagonist Kate is somewhat of an anti-hero. She is kind of a rare YA female protagonist because I’m sure most teens and young adults will hate her. Kate is judgmental and overtly righteous--when all the other counselors want to sleep in a cabin together, she sleeps outside because she thinks someone will get pregnant–which seems kind of a silly thing to think at 18 years old. One of the last things Kate’s best friend Emily does is call her a judgmental bitch, and that pretty much is Kate.
But not everyone has given up on her. She builds a relationship with fellow counselor Matthew Brown who is not only a preacher’s son but also a crazy impulsive frat bro who runs barefoot marathons and drives a jeep without doors. As her feelings for Matt grow, she begins to questions everything she knew about right and wrong.
Overall this book didn’t work for me. I couldn’t really emotionally connect with any of the characters or the story. It was focused so much on the daily relationships and camp activities that it lost a lot of the emotional resonance. There isn’t much in this book about Kate’s struggles against her own version morality.
For someone who is so obediently religious, Kate didn’t seem emotionally connected to the church. This book creates some heavy issues and questions, but the content of this book is surprisingly light.
I do like how Keneally’s always done a good job of representing issues for teens and young adults. She touches on the fact that we are in a struggling economy, with characters like the camp director Megan who has a Master’s degree, and works at the summer camp waiting or the next best thing.
At the end of the day if you enjoy the romance of Kenneally’s books you will enjoy this book.
So, it looks like Kenneally’s next book, Racing Savannah will feature Matt’s little brother Jeremiahwho gets a little page time in this novel. But am I the only one who wants to know what is going on with the other counselor Brad who was too afraid to go home on the weekends ? I want to see more of him.
I’m a lifelong reader who started blogging about YA books in 2011 but now I read in just about every genre! I love YA coming of age stories, compelling memoirs and genre bending SFF. You can find me talking all things romance at Romance and Sensibility.