Is there a book that you really wanted to like but it ended up disappointing you? One such book for me this year was All This Time written by Mikki Daughtry and Rachael Lippincott.
I read Five Feet Apart and then I went on to watch the movie which if not better than the book, it was fairly good. So when the opportunity to read ‘All This Time’ came, I grabbed it with both hands. I was also tempted by the cover (did you even see how gorgeous it is? 🥺) and the mental health rep. But unfortunately, I wasn’t that impressed with this book. I think Five Feet Apart raised the bar too high for me and this book just fell short of that level.
Kyle and Kimberly have been the perfect couple all through high school, but when Kimberly breaks up with him on the night of their graduation party, Kyle’s entire world upends—literally. Their car crashes and when he awakes, he has a brain injury. Kimberly is dead. And no one in his life could possibly understand.
Until Marley. Marley is suffering from her own loss, a loss she thinks was her fault. And when their paths cross, Kyle sees in her all the unspoken things he’s feeling.
As Kyle and Marley work to heal each other’s wounds, their feelings for each other grow stronger. But Kyle can’t shake the sense that he’s headed for another crashing moment that will blow up his life as soon as he’s started to put it back together.
And he’s right.
Trigger Warnings: Death, Grief, losing a loved one and the trauma associated with it.
Thanks to Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy. This in no way affects my reviews.
The story starts off with two characters, Kyle, who is a football player and Kimberly, who is possibly the Cheer captain (I couldn’t make that out for sure because there’s no official introduction to Kimberly’s character). So Kimberly breaks up with Kyle on the night of their Graduation party. There’s also a car crash on the same night and Kyle wakes up with a brain injury (this is not a spoiler, it’s already mentioned in the blurb 👀). Kyle is left to deal with the trauma. But can he find true love after losing everything? Of course, he can! And that’s how we are introduced to Marley.
Marley is suffering from her own loss and she believes she is at fault. Kyle and Marley connect over their shared history of love, pain and trauma. There are a lot of cuddly moments between the two characters and they were all cute and since it’s winter where I just end up feeling lonely for God knows what reason, I was LIVING for those scenes!
Here’s the thing though. It all just happened too quickly. 20 pages in and we have people dying, waking up in hospitals and then meeting another person and falling in love with her. It all felt rushed to me. There was no build up. I don’t know, maybe at this point I am just dead on the inside because I wasn’t an emotional mess while reading the book. Kyle was extremely possessive for my liking and I found his behaviour problematic and the fact that Marley didn’t really call him out on his behaviour made it worse.
If I read this book two years ago, I would have been fawning over the characters and would have completely missed out on the problematic and triggering scenes. I am so over the trope where possessiveness is equated to love. The scenes where Kyle was struggling with his emotions and trauma, those were the only times where I empathized with his feelings. I could feel his pain. This book does have a lot of fluffy cute scenes but overall there’s no character development nor a good plotline.
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