By Sarina Bowen
She’s hiding something big. He’s hiding someone small.
Scarlet Crowley’s life was torn apart the day her 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 sensual, 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.
Holy Shit!!! What a book. When I read the synopsis, I assumed that Scarlet’s father was some huge mob boss or something to that effect, but man was I way off base with that one. When I started reading and found out what the allegations really were, I was shocked because I did not see it coming. I love when a book surprises me, and this one did right from the start.
Scarlet is a freshman desperate to get away from her horrid parents and the allegations surrounding her father. She’s tortured by the questions that she’s too afraid to ask out loud. Is her father guilty? If he is, how did she not see it? She tries very hard to make sure no-one at Harkness College discovers her true identity, all while dealing with lawyers on both sides demanding she answer questions, as well as being forced to play nice with her parents in front of the media, all to make a man who treated her like crap her entire life look good to the public. Bridger’s situation is very different but no less complicated. He’s a third year desperate to save the only family he has left, his little sister Lucy, while their mother’s life slips away into drugs and alcohol. After getting her out of a scary situation, he’s determined not to let Lucy fall into the foster system, having her live on campus in his dorm room in secret. His love and devotion to his sister makes him one of the best guys I’ve read in a while.
I loved both Scarlet and Bridger, two young people forced to deal with a lot of crap thanks to the actions of their parents. When Scarlet learns of Bridger’s secret and vice versa, there’s no harsh words, no “We’re over because you lied to me” drama. There’s just simple acceptance that they had very good reasons for keeping secrets and that they were just dealing with their situations the best way they knew how. I loved how Scarlet and Bridger supported each other and found comfort in each other when they least expected it. And when Bridger’s life comes crashing down and his greatest fear comes true, he quickly realises the amazing support system he has around him, if only he trusted them enough to ask for help.
THE YEAR WE HID AWAY is book 2 in The Ivy Years series but can be read as a stand-alone. You don’t need to read THE YEAR WE FELL DOWN first, but I would recommend you do so as it’s a great book. Both books are very different, but both deal with realistic issues and I think the author does a great job in how she writes those issues and how her characters deal with them. You can’t help but get drawn into their lives and journey, praying they get the HEA they so badly deserve. I just love a book that grabs hold and won’t let go, which is exactly what THE YEAR WE HID AWAY did.
Please Note: This book contains topics which may be triggers for some people.
The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years # 2)
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