I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt
Published by Wendy Lamb Books on May 27, 2014
Length: 208 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.
When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellayla. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They're a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell's a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she's happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it's wrong, and she must do something about it.
We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt is a coming-of-age story about two sisters, Layla and Nell Golden, who are best friends until Layla starts hiding the truth from Nell. Written like a letter to her sister, Nell tells the story of how close they’ve always been and how when school starts her freshman year Layla begins withdrawing. Nell takes some of the blame as to what her sister is going through, even though she’s not at fault.
The love and devotion that is shown through Reinhardt’s writing is so honest and real that I had a really hard time not having feelings for Nell and Layla. Nell is fifteen and so excited to be starting her freshman year of high school with her older sister. She looks up to Layla and pretty much all or her decisions are based on what Layla does. Layla is the older sister by just ten months but “she has a good head in her shoulders” is how all the adults describe her. She’s the popular girl, the all-star athlete, pride of her parents. She’s everything Nell wants to be.
Then the rumors start and Nell is shocked to learn from her sister they are true. This whole story revolves around this truth. Like I said, the story is written as a reflection by Nell, almost like a letter to Layla, an explanation of why she is doing what she does at the end of this book. Nell lies and takes up for Layla, thinking it’s the right thing to do, but in her heart she knows it’s not. This story’s plot is all about Nell leaving her sister’s shadow and basically becoming the young adult we all want our children to be.
This book pulled at my emotions. I was nostalgic thinking about my own high school experiences and if I would’ve been as brave as Nell if put in her situation. I’d like to say yes, but who knows. I laughed, I cried, and fell in love. If you enjoy coming of age, young adult reads I highly recommend you check this book out. It’s sweet, loving and heartbreaking, but worth every word.