Sunday, August 31, 2014

[Review] In Her Wake by K.A. Tucker


Before you knew him as Trent in Ten Tiny Breaths, he was Cole Reynolds—and he had it all. Until one night when he makes a fatal, wrong decision…and loses everything.

When a drunken night out at a Michigan State college party results in the death of six people, Cole must come to terms with his part in the tragedy. Normally, he’d be able to lean on his best friends—the ones who have been in his life since he could barely walk. Only, they’re gone. Worse, there’s the shattered body of a sixteen-year-old girl lying somewhere in a hospital bed, her entire life ripped from her because of a case of beer and a set of keys.

Everyone assures him that they know it wasn’t intentional, and yet he can’t ignore the weight of their gazes, the whispers behind his back. Nor can he shake the all-consuming guilt he feels every time he thinks of that girl who won’t so much as allow him near her hospital room to apologize. As the months go by and the shame and loneliness festers, Cole begins to lose his grip on what once was important—college, his girlfriend, his future. His life. It’s not until Cole hits rock-bottom that he can begin to see another way out of his personal hell: forgiveness.

And there’s only one person who can give that to him…

Yes, this is a prequel to Ten Tiny Breaths, but DO NOT READ THIS BEFORE TTB! It will pretty much ruin everything. SPOILERS FOR TTB AHEAD! Don't say I didn't warn you.

In Her Wake is one of the best novellas I've ever read. Ten Tiny Breaths left me needing more, and I got exactly what I needed from this novella. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed TTB, but I just could not fully connect with the relationship between Trent and Kacey. In Her Wake didn't include any of the same time line as Ten Tiny Breaths, but I think if I were to reread it right now I would have a completely different, and better, experience.

Trent's story is tragic and heartbreaking. Before the accident Trent was someone else. He was Cole, a carefree college guy with a bright future ahead of him. The night of the accident changed him. He became obsessed and consumed with what happened, and blamed himself for everything. Trent's obsession with the accident led him to Kacey, the only other person that lived through the accident. At times Trent's digging into Kacey's life felt quite stalkerish, but being inside his head and knowing exactly why he was doing it made it okay somehow. Normally I would be completely turned off by his behavior. But I knew that, as crazy as it sounded, Trent felt like he could never be happy until he knew Kacey was happy.

Trent is the kind of guy that you really root for, you want him to be okay. There were times his self destructive ways made me want to slap some sense into him, but I mostly felt bad for him. If I had gone through what he did I don't know that I would have reacted any differently.

The novella spans a little over four years time, and even though there were a few big jumps in the time line I never felt like I missed anything. The flow was perfect and kept me interested until the very last word. The thing I loved the most about In Her Wake was that I was able to connect with these characters in a completely different way. So, if you liked Ten Tiny Breaths, or even if you didn't, I would definitely suggest picking up this novella.

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