Monday, May 20, 2013

Review and Author Interview: Holding On and Letting Go (The Ties That Bind Us # 1)

Author: Lucy A. Kelly
Sereis: The Ties That Bind Us # 1
Source: Sent By Author
Publisher: K. Coleman
Published: March 10, 2013
Author Info is below

Is there a way to describe the ties that bind us together? What happens when one of those ties is unexpectedly severed? Can everything else remain the same? Will the other ties hold strong?

Two years after her little brother's death, sixteen year old Emerson Caulfield returns to a 

home that she spent the last two years missing. In theory, everything should be the same. 
Her best friend, Matt, still lives next door. Her house is in the exact same condition
as they left it. The scenery and hallways haven't changed, yet for Emerson, everything is
completely different. The place may be the same, but Emerson is most certainly not. She 
returns home hurt, angry, and miles away from the girl she once was.

The 60,000 word novel alternates between the perspectives of Emerson, who is struggling
to keep breathing on a daily basis, and Matt, who wants to have his old best friend back so 
badly that he is willing to overlook the fact that she has completely changed. Though their 
friendship and relationship is a major part of the story, it takes backseat to the unique bonds 
between siblings, what happens when your worst enemy is in fact yourself, and the hardships
that come with growing up and changing. (Synopsis)

My Thoughts:

This book was breaking my heart from beginning to almost the end, where it actually ripped it out completely. I have a really soft spot for children so I was so sad that Emerson's brother died so young. Don't get me wrong this was a great book, it just hit too close to home for me in more aspects than one. 

This book was full of emotional characters: there's Emerson who's brother died and she is trying to deal with it and on her way there she makes horrible decisions. Although she was unrecognizable compared to who she used to be, I loved Emerson. She was a great character , I especially liked that she did not take anyone's bull, so if she got picked on she retaliated. I'm so tired of reading about main characters that don't stand up for themselves! This story is about Emerson trying to find her way back to as normal as she can get after she has lost the most important person in the world to her. I really understood her struggle and there's no right or wrong way of mourning and healing. 
Matt (also my son's name) is Emerson's best friend and wants to be her friend and help her heal, if she lets him back in her life. He is in love with her and wants to be there for her whether she likes it or not. I enjoyed seeing how much he cared for Emerson and to what extremes he took his affection. I like how the story was also told from his perspective. We saw how he was internally struggling with not knowing how to deal with Emerson, like when to give her space and when to console her. 
Brad, Emerson's older brother takes legal guardianship of her because their relationship is shot to hell to put it lightly. He's such a good brother, he described her to be his Peter; that's how much he cares for her. He also tries to keep the peace between his parents and Emerson, he actually talks to their parents.
There are other characters that Emerson gets close to as she starts to open up some more as she starts to heal. There was also the mean cheerleader: Savannah, who Emerson had something to say right when they met...
"Savannah seems like an annoying mosquito that I kind of want to swat." And after that she did not let Savannah bully her. 
Savannah wasn't that bad, for most of the story she backed off of Emerson.

This book deserves 5/5 because it's such a great heartwarming story about love, loss, and self awareness. It made me laugh, it made me cringe at times, it made me angry, and it definitely made me cry. I wish I could say so much more, but that I don't want to give any more away, so just go read the book so we can talk about it. I recommend it to everyone and can't wait for the next book.

Author Interview:

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

To be blunt, the belief that teenagers have actual depth to them.  After teaching high school teenagers for six years, I know they have so much more compassion and insight than the way they often get depicted in the media.  I can make one promise.  I will never write one book that contains a stereotypical teen.  I don't believe in stereotypes, and I don't think teenagers should have to read about dramatized versions of themselves.  

Q: What is your favorite scene & character?

Tough question.  As a person, I love all of the scenes where Emerson deals with her emotions toward her siblings.  Sometimes the relationships between siblings is glossed over in books, but a person's relationship with his/her sibling(s) is so important.  If you have a sibling, I'm sure you know what I mean.  It's a bit of a tightrope to walk.  If you are like me, you enjoy pushing your sibling's buttons.  Sorry, big brother!  With that said, I also love my brother so incredibly much even when I am purposefully annoying him.  

As a reader, my favorite scenes are any where Savannah and Emerson collide.  In some ways, the comedy of the situation is that those two characters are somewhat alike despite their refusal to acknowledge it.  As a writer, my favorite character is Emerson.  Her voice is the closest to my own, so she is often the easiest character for me to write.  

Q: Was it difficult to write such an emotional book?

Yes, in the sense that I too cried at scenes I wrote.  I've gotten more than one e-mail from readers noting that my book brought out tears that they didn't know they had in them.  The thing is, I cried writing it.  I'm sure there are better writers who can write emotional scenes without feeling it, but in order for me to write an actual emotional scene that has sincerity to it, I have to go to the dark place with the characters.  It's not necessarily a bad thing.  I will fully admit that I ugly cried writing different parts of the book.
Q: What message do you want readers to take from this book?

I have two messages.  First, asking for help is never a sign of weakness.  I hate when words like "depression" or "anxiety" get whispered as though they are taboo topics.  It is perfectly acceptable to need help every once in awhile.  Second, when you get knocked down, you have to get back up again.  I recognize that it's not easy.  In the interest of being honest, I've gotten knocked on my butt several times in my life.  The thing is, things do and can get better.  It never hurts to hear that message.

Q: What makes this book stand out from the rest?

The characters.  I honestly believe it is impossible not to fall in love with one of the characters in the book.  As someone once put it, "the characters are people you wish you could take to dinner".  None of the characters are perfect.  They all make mistakes.  The flaws are what makes characters realistic.  If you are like me, you don't want to read about the perfect person.  I want to read about somebody incredibly imperfect who is doing the best that he/she can.

Q: I see that this is the first in a series, how many books will there be and when do you think they will be published? 

As it stands now, there will be two more.  I am currently writing the final chapter of the second one which has been really fun to write.  I established the world and relationships in the first book; in the second book, I get to dig deeper into secondary characters.  I'm hoping to have book three completed by the end of the summer.  All I will say about book three is that it is going to be worth the wait.  If book one set up the fireworks, book two finishes lighting them.  Thus, book three is the explosion.  I already have the third book mapped out.  I am incredibly excited to write it.  Unlike the first two books, it will alternate between at least four characters' perspectives.  The reader finally gets to see all of the relationships and bonds from every angle.

About the author:

Lucy A. Kelly

I'm not really going to write a biography. Though I am supportive of the high schools and colleges I have attended, it's probably not actually the most interesting stuff about me. I'm going to do a list of five really random things instead for now.

1) I like making lists. It's weird, and I never actually scratch things off of the list.
2) I sing and dance in the car like a maniac.
3) For the first six years of my life, I truly believed a shark lived under my bed. I watched Jaws at too young of an age.
4) Without a doubt, I am a night person. I am enormously grumpy when first woken up in the morning.
5) When I was younger, I read almost every Nancy Drew book, both new and old. I had a notebook, and I would take notes to see if I could figure out who the "bad guy" was before Nancy did. We probably tied.

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I would like to thank the author, Lucy A. Kelly for writing an amazing book and for having me as part of her blog tour. I appreciated you sending me your book and I really enjoyed it.



  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this book.
    It seemes like a great story.

    Thanks for the review. :)

    1. Thanks, I really enjoyed this book, although it was sad.


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