I was pleasantly surprised by the first book in the series and I’m glad the second book continues with its well nuanced stories of college aged men and women. This time around, the stakes are a higher but the author deftly manages to keep the story moving at a clip.
The day that she stepped on campus at Harkness College, Scarlet Crowley left Shannon Ellison behind. Scarlet wasn’t a pariah in her hometown, didn’t have paparazzi staking out her house and wasn’t shut in with parents who were indifferent to how the allegations against her father were affecting her. Scarlet Crowley had a blank slate and was determined to start her life anew and keep Shannon firmly in the past.
Bridger McCauley is just waiting for his massive house of cards to come falling down. His mother has been on shaky ground since his father died years back. When Bridger comes to the house and finds how far his mother has fallen, he immediately scoops up his seven year old sister and hides her in his dorm room. Unwilling to let his sister fall into foster care, Bridger takes time off from the hockey team to care for his sister, work three jobs and still go to school.
Bridger and Scarlet start out meeting Tuesday and Thursday mornings to help each other with class material but their friendship develops quickly. They sense a familiarity and innate understanding of each other. Scarlet is afraid and ashamed to share her secrets. Bridger stubbornly refuses to let anyone in because he’s so afraid to lose his sister. However, when life busts everything wide open, Scarlet and Bridger learn their relationship is strong enough to lean on.
As I said in the review of The Year We Fell Down, the author manages to strike a balance between the heavy issues that the couple is dealing with a swiftly moving story. I appreciate that both characters approach their problems in a very logical adult manner. There is no caterwauling or histrionics even when the situations would totally warrant them. The one minor irritation was the plot twist towards the end involving Scarlet’s family that I thought was completely unnecessary.
There are a couple of brief scenes with Hartney, Corey and the other hockey guys but the story is mainly focused on Bridger and Scarlet. Overall, the story was a lovely emotional journey with two strong characters who find the person they can trust to lean on in the hardest of times.
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Year We Hid Away
by Sarina Bowen
Release Date: June 1, 2014
Publisher: Rennie Road Books