Joint Review: The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen

Posted December 22, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 10 Comments

Joint Review: The Year We Hid Away by Sarina BowenReviewer: Holly and Rowena
The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen
Series: The Ivy Years #2
Also in this series: Blonde Date, The Year We Fell Down, The Fifteenth Minute, The Fifteenth Minute
Published by Rennie Road Books
Publication Date: June 1st 2014
Pages: 280
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five-stars

She’s hiding something big. He’s hiding someone small.
Scarlet Crowley’s life was torn apart the day father was arrested for unspeakable crimes. Now the shock has worn off, but not the horror. 
It’s a safe bet that Scarlet is the only first year at Harkness College who had to sneak past TV news trucks parked on her front lawn just to leave town. But college will be Scarlet’s fresh start. Clutching a shiny new student ID — with a newly minted name on it — she leaves it all behind. Even if it means lying to the boy she’s falling for.
Bridger McCaulley is a varsity hockey star known for being a player both on and off the ice. But a sobering family crisis takes that all away. Protecting his sister means a precarious living arrangement and constant deception. The only bright spot in his week is the few stolen hours he spends with Scarlet.
The two form a tentative relationship based on the understanding that some things must always be held back. But when grim developments threaten them both, going it alone just won’t work anymore. And if they can’t learn to trust one another now, the families who let them down will take everything they’ve struggled to keep.
Keywords: sports romance, hockey, Ivy League, new adult, college.

Holly: Like most high school grads, Scarlet is excited to leave home and start college. But unlike most others, she’s doing it under an assumed name with the cloud of her father’s alleged sins hanging over her.

What did you think of Scarlet and the things she was dealing with?

Rowena:  Scarlet…I really liked her. I thought she was a good match for Bridger. I wasn’t bothered by the secrets she kept from Bridger because it was understandable. Even when she kept some distance between her and Bridger once she got back to school after Thanksgiving, I understood and was okay with the way that she handled things. Because everything she did, she did because she was trying to protect not just Bridger but his younger sister, Lucy, too.

Holly: I wasn’t bothered that she kept secrets, either. I understood her reasons for keeping her family drama to herself and for backing away from him when it looked like what was happening in her life was going to impact his. Normally I hate the whole “I know better than you, so I’m ending this without consulting you” thing, but that wasn’t the case here. Especially since Lucy was threatened.

Rowena: Yep. I really liked that she didn’t think she knew better than Bridger. She thought of Lucy’s safety and wanted more than anything to keep the both of them safe. I liked that she put them first even when Bridger didn’t understand because when it mattered the most, she came out and was honest about everything with Bridger. I thought that Bridger was just as lucky to have Scarlett as she was to have him.

Holly: Did you want her dad to be guilty or not? I didn’t, for her sake. I didn’t see how it was possible that he wasn’t guilty, though. All evidence pointed toward him. That was hard to take in, considering the nature of the crimes.

Rowena: I don’t know about wanting Scarlet’s dad to be guilty. His life impacted her life and shaped her into the person that she was. I liked the person that she was, so that’s a tough call. Do you think she would have been the same person had her life turned out different?

Holly: That’s an interesting question. Based on the way her mom and dad both acted, I’m not sure how she turned into the person she was. Her coaches, maybe? Definitely something to think about.

It really made me think about how we perceive the families of those who are accused of crimes, though. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but Scarlet’s struggles, especially in high school, really hit me. Would I want my kids associating with the daughter of someone who was accused of child molestation? And yet, she was innocent.

Rowena: Same here. I hadn’t thought about the children of child molesters. Having read this book and seen what Scarlet went through, I’ve learned that things aren’t always as they seem and that I shouldn’t blame the sins of the father on the children. Before reading this? I don’t think I would have been too comfortable with the idea of my daughter hanging out with the kid of a molester. Shame on me.

I wanted to beat up her Dad’s lawyers and the people that worked for him. She was really smart to go to the computer geeks to fix her phone problems.

Holly: Scarlet’s dad’s lawyers were ridiculous. What did you think about the situation with her uncle? I don’t want to spoil it, but that was one thing I didn’t like. I thought it was a little too convenient.

Rowena: The whole thing with Scarlett and her Uncle was convenient but it was a convenience that I was okay with. Because again, that whole association with her dad thing. That probably makes me a bad person so shame on me. 🙁

How cute was Lucy?

Holly:  Lucy was adorable. I absolutely love how Bridger acted with her. She wasn’t a nuisance to him, or an obligation. He loved her and wanted to raise her. I half expected for there to be some resentment or frustration on his part, but there wasn’t. He really acted like a parent.

**SPOILER** Rowena, my heart broke for them when their mom died. Bridger’s reaction when he finds out Lucy was taken by the state was…omg. **End SPOILER**

I ugly cried.

Rowena: I ugly cried throughout this book too (even when I found out that he wasn’t a fan of basketball). I mean, everything you mentioned hit me hard. Also seeing the support system he had in place the whole time, the way that everyone rallied behind him (including Scarlet) to make sure him and Lucy were taken care of? Man, it hit me in the feels and the people at work thought that something bad happened to me because my face was swollen the next day from all of my crying.

Holly: I’ve read this multiple times now, and I cry each and every time. I just…I can’t even with Bridger and Lucy. You’re right, his support system was great. Many authors would have taken the opportunity to show us how alone he really was. I love that Bowen went the other direction.

Rowena: Same here. I just adored this book. So very much. If she hadn’t shown us the support system that was in place for Bridger, I would have been mad because I already knew how alone Bridger felt. He kept that secret for months. It was such a big secret too. I loved how tight he and Lucy were and the way that they loved each other. Lucy was scared but she had such faith in Bridger.

I can’t say enough good things about this book. I loved most everything about it. I am a big Sarina Bowen fan after this book. I want more, more, more from her.

Holly: When I finished this book, I immediately wanted to start it again. This whole series was great. Bowen is definitely one of my best finds of 2014.

Rowena: Bowen was a great find for 2014. Love her.

This book gets a 4.75 out of 5 from me. You?

Holly: I’m going to give it the same. 4.75.

Rowena’s Grade: 4.75
Holly’s Grade: 4.75

Definitely a recommended read.

five-stars


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10 responses to “Joint Review: The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen

  1. JenM

    I so loved this book. I think it was my favorite of the series. I was pretty burned out on NA, but Sarina Bowen totally changed my mind and I’m now back to (selectively) reading other NA books.

    • Ooh, have you found any other good stuff? Please send over your recommendations. Have you tried The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan? That was another fantastic NA book.

  2. This comment contains SPOILERS

    Read at your own risk.

    No, really.

    Okay, I did warn you.

    😛

    Everything you say here–the ugly crying, the wonderful character development for both leads, how well Lucy is written (she’s a child, she behaves like a child who’s lived through difficult times and events), Bridger’s reluctance to take advantage of his friends (Hartley’s mom), his fear that, despite every body being willing to help, the state may still take Lucy away, Bridger’s absolute commitment to do right by his sister…oh the crying! Hell, I get teary-eyed just remembering the book!

    On the tangential discussion regarding children of child molesters: Bowen brings up two very interesting points. One, nature v nurture (or, how/why Scarlet turns into a decent human being despite her parents). Second, how society reacts to those children/families.

    On the first point, I think that’s why Brian was brought into the story–if memory serves, he wasn’t actually the brother of Scarlet’s father, which brings distance from the bloodline there, but also, he’s a Good Guy.

    On the second point, we (people as a class) tend to marginalize those we see as deviating from the norm, always. Growing up (heads up: I’m a lot older than you guys), I was one of two “kids of divorce” throughout elementary and middle school (the other one being my sister), and you can bet we weren’t favorites with the other kids’ parents. Did it make me more tolerant myself of who my own kids were friends with? Only to a point–I honestly cannot say how I could have reacted should it have come out that my kids were friendly with the kids of a child molester.

    Which has made me think a lot about myself.

    • Hey AL!

      I hear you about pretty much everything you mentioned in your comment. The whole thing with Bridger completely broke my heart. The way that he was with Lucy? It would have been understandable for him to be a little bitter about having to take care of his younger sister. I’ve had the same thoughts myself growing up and having to stay at home over the summer vacation because I had to babysit my nieces but Bridger’s situation was multiplied by like a million because he gave up his entire life. He quit hanging out with his friends. Every single thing he did was planned and mapped out so that he could take care of and hide Lucy.

      Lucy was so lucky to have Bridger but you could see the way that she blessed his life too. They were a team and when the Mom dies and the team is ripped apart? Man, that broke my heart but to see how much faith that Lucy had in Bridger…it just warmed my heart.

      There were a lot of things in, not just this book but in this series that made me stop and think. In this book, it made me stop and think about the way that I treat my daughter’s friends. Would I treat one of her friends if I found out that they were related to child molester? Would I make that kid suffer for their father’s sins? I would like to say no but I’m really not sure. Scarlet has made me realize that I don’t want to be like the people that scorned her for something she had no idea was going on and didn’t take part of. I want to be better.

      • Scarlet has made me realize that I don’t want to be like the people that scorned her for something she had no idea was going on and didn’t take part of. I want to be better.

        Yes, exactly!

        I’ve been thinking more about whether or not I would have been comfortable about my kids being friends with the child of someone under investigation for multiple claims of molestation, and I think that the critical point would be, whether those children lived in the same house as that person at the time.

        Because no way in hell would I expose my children, knowingly, to someone suspected of molestation–when it comes to the safety of my kids, there’s no ‘benefit of the doubt’

        • Very true.

          Have you tried any of Bowen’s other books? I’m curious about those. I mean, I’m going to read them but I’m curious if other people have enjoyed those books as much as her Ivy Years series.

          • I haven’t tried anything else by her–and now I’m a little afraid to, because I have loved her Ivy Years so much, it would totally suck if i disliked her other work.

            (My mind is a weird place indeed)

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