Title: Things I Can’t Forget
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: 3.5.2013
Series: Hundred Oaks #3
Source: Purchased finished copy
Summary (from Goodreads):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…
Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks series is my favorite contemporary YA series ever. I love how she creates vibrant characters against a realistic backdrop that have me coming away learning something. Things I Can’t Forget is the third in the series and no exception.
I think what I loved most about this book was Kate and watching her figure things out. I was Kate. I was a girl who raised in the church since I was an infant. You did not miss church unless you had a fever and/or were throwing up. I did youth group, bible studies, missions trips in the US and internationally. I also was raised to believe certain things were taboo—no sex before marriage, being gay was a sin, and a lot of other clichés that stem from an environment that focused more on the law of God and not so much the love of God. Kate and I could be sisters.
When Kate reconnects with Matt, she starts questioning her beliefs. It’s through their relationship and her friendship with Parker (from Stealing Parker—book 2 of the series) that Kate starts to grow and learn from others. It doesn’t lessen her guilt about past transgressions, but she starts realizing there is more than one way to be right and that love has no boundaries.
As Kate evolved throughout this book, I swear it was like watching myself in high school. By the end of the book Kate has truly started finding herself. There is a way to balance God and yourself and religion is a deeply personal experience. I can see where watching Kate in the beginning of this book might be frustrating to someone who hasn’t been through what she (and I) went through. The beliefs I listed earlier that I held as hard truth I know realize are not for me to judge. While I may not be for abortion personally, I sat with a friend when she had the procedure done. One of my best friends is gay and has been with her girlfriend for years and I adore them both without prejudice. Kenneally gives such life to this character and makes her so realistic, I swear you will both love and understand her by the end. This is a series you can’t ignore.
And lastly, because it must be said, Kate and Matt have one of the hottest YA romances. Seriously, I could have read about these two forever.