Release Date: July 30, 2019
Thanks to Swoon Romance for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Welcome to my stop on the Finding Me blog tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club! I’ve had so much fun being apart of this tour and there is a lot packed into this post. Along with the usual book and author details (synopsis, buying information, how to connect with the author, etc.) I usually include, I also have my personal review along with a giveaway and a GUEST POST by the Kelly Gunderman!
Can you ever truly love someone who robbed you of everything?
Sixteen-year-old Claire Williams spends most of her days feeling angry and alone. After a car accident took her mother and Claire’s ability to walk, life in a wheelchair is the new normal.
When she’s sent to live with her grandmother, away from school and friends, Claire has a chance for a fresh start. Just when Claire thinks she can handle things, she runs into Todd – the son of the man who caused the car accident.
At first, Claire wants nothing to do with him, but the more time they spend together, the more she hates to admit her feelings. She’s slowly falling in love with Todd.
Now, Claire’s father wants to move and take Claire with him. But she can’t go. Not now when everything is falling into place, and she’s just now finding herself. Claire’s defiant. She won’t leave Greenwood, her new friends, her grandmother, or Todd.
Can Claire find the strength to let her dad go on with his life while leaving her behind to live hers, or will she allow the guilt and shame of surviving the accident pull her back under?
About the Author
Kelly Gunderman was born a child of the late eighties in small-town Pennsylvania. A bibliophile in her own right, she is hoping to one day surpass the number of pages she has turned with those she has written of her own accord.
Having recently completed her Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Development, Kelly suddenly found herself with a bit more free time than usual, and began her immediately successful foray into blogging and Freelance Writing, which subsequently led to her renewed desire to finally put her ideas and imaginings “on paper.”
Focusing primarily on the Young Adult genre, Kelly’s first novel, Finding Me, was published by Swoon Romance, and she is currently working on putting even more stories on paper.
She currently resides in her original home town with her husband, their two daughters, and a few cats that constantly challenge the sanity of all with their ill-advised attempts at what can only be assumed to be world domination.
The cover of Finding Me is just gorgeous and that along with the synopsis really drew an interest from me. This poor girl, Claire, has just lost her mother in a horrific accident and then her dad runs off with some 22 year old and abandons her at her grandma’s house to start all over. To top it all of the son of the guy that caused her accident goes to her new school, but he’s cute, sweet and she might just be falling for him. Just when things seem to be going good for Claire though, her father suddenly returns with some surprises up his sleeve and decides it’s time for them to be family again. The choice seems clear, but then again things never seem to be as clear cut as they should be.
Claire was amazingly kind and sweet, while upset sometimes she’s never angry or hostile and I really admired that about her. She had her flaws, but that’s what made her relatable. I could have never been as forgiving as Claire though. I hold a grudge like no other while Claire forgives and forgets those who have wronged her, and there were quite a few. Through it all though she is able to create a good life and find happiness after her accident.
The relationship between Claire and her grandma was one of my favorite things about this book. They were so open with each other, talking things out rather than burying them under the surface. Their weekends literally consisted of baking cookies and painting each others toes, my dream come true. Her grandma helped to keep the memories of Claire’s mom alive and is the one that instilled the value of forgiveness in Claire.
While this book was supposed to be about the romance between Claire and Todd, the son of the drunk driver that killed her mom, that’s the plot line that feel flat for me. It was a tad insta-lovey. We really don’t get to know Todd beyond his relationship with Claire. I couldn’t tell you one thing about him except for that he seemed kind. We never get to meet any of his friends or how he is around them and we barely get to meet his family. The one time we do his mother was awful to him and while his brother is mentioned we never get to meet him. I needed more character development to connect to him and the romance.
The romance might have fallen flat but there were so many other things going on in the novel that I actually felt like the romance took a backseat. Claire is also having issues with her father, who definitely won’t be winning father of the year anytime soon. He literally ditches Claire to find a hot young thing and start a new family then all of a sudden comes back when her life is actually going well and she’s happy to steal her away and suddenly be a family again. We also find out some not so nice things about him and meet the hot young thing. I felt like the book had a lot of focus on family relationships; the relationship between Claire and her mother, her father and her grandmother along with the new girlfriend. We also had a focus on friendships as well. Claire’s best childhood friend abandons her when she needs her most, but she find amazing friends who stick with her through thick and thin. I went into Finding Me expecting romance and got even more than I expected out of it.
Guest Post by Kelly Gunderman
Describe your perfect book hero or heroine.
I’m not entirely sure that the “perfect” book hero or heroine exists, really. In order for a character to be interesting, relatable, and feel real to the reader, I’ve always loved the flaws. Much like when it comes to people, we all have our own mannerisms, traits, strengths, and weaknesses, and they become a part of who we are.
As a reader, I like book characters that have an explosive personality behind them – characters who aren’t afraid to take risks, be themselves, fight for what is right and what they believe in, and show their true colors. Sometimes, though, it’s fun to come across an unreliable narrator: one you aren’t too sure of. It makes the reading experience entertaining!
As a writer, however, I like to create characters that I would love to meet in real life; people I would like being friends with. I like to get really in-depth with their personalities and try to make them feel as real as I can. For me, the perfect book hero or heroine is someone who is able to make me smile, make me cry, make me feel every emotion they are feeling as they go through them. That’s how I feel connected to them, and how I can make their stories mean more. Another trait that a perfect book hero or heroine would have are those flaws I mentioned earlier. I want them to have obstacles; I want them to have situations and personality traits that make it difficult, yet possible, to overcome. I adore character development, and I think that it can be vital to a story.
Prize: A coffee mug, tea, and a $10 Amazon gift card from Kelly Gunderman (USA only)
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