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
Publication Date: June 1st 2014
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Coming of Age, General
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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.