Book Review: The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen

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the year we hid awayShe’s hiding something big. He’s hiding someone small.

Scarlet Crowley’s life was torn apart the day 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 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.

My Review:

Sarina Bowen has become my new obsession. Her writing is addictive and powerful; meaningful and full of love. I do have to admit that this series is not my favorite of hers. I’ve read three of the books in this series and each one is full of insta love and way too much drama. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s not something that I overly enjoy in my books. I feel that this series would have way more potential and a magnetic pull if they bordered more on the realistic side and included some more relaxed, fun scenes to read about.

Bridger has been one of my favorite characters since the beginning of the series. That being said, I expected a lot more from his book. In just the span of one book, Bridger lost his entire bad boy, sexy appeal that was showcased in the first book. Yes, he had his reasons. I totally understand that he had to take care of his little sister and that life was tough. Come on, though. He lost ALL OF IT? He didn’t even have his bad boy sexiness when he started things up with Scarlet! I was really disappointed.

Scarlet’s character was…..meh… Honestly, she just had too much drama going on in her life. Adding on Scarlet’s drama to Bridger’s drama, and it was like having a full bowl of popcorn on my lap while watching a daytime soap opera. Not for me. I would have enjoyed this book more had Bridger had his old personality and if he had more chemistry with Scarlet.

One of my biggest problems with this book was how unrealistic it was. I’m willing to let books get away with a lot of unrealistic stuff. However, I’m not willing to let it slide with contemporary books. Why? Well, contemporary books are supposed to lean more toward the realities of life. Did everything have to be perfect? Did everything have to happen exactly how they would have happened in real life? No, but I would have liked for the book to be somewhat realistic. Instead, there were several things that occurred in this book that would have never went down the way that they did in real life. Let’s get real here.

Toward the end of the book, when we hit Scarlet’s overload of drama, I felt that everything was really rushed and just sort of thrown together. Honestly, I wasn’t all that shocked because this tends to happen in all of Bowen’s books. It’s important to mention, though, because this is something that might bother other readers quite a bit. I don’t want to go into too much detail, because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say that Scarlet’s dramaline had a lot of writing potential that just didn’t reach its peak. I would have liked to see Bridger’s drama go completely away and steady the focus solely on Scarlet’s drama. It would have made for an amazing story with a really edgy plot.

Overall, I liked this book, but I wasn’t very wowed. While I love Sarina Bowen with all of my heart, I probably won’t be continuing this series.

Rating: [rating: 3]