Published by Wendy Lamb Books on May 27, 2014
Genres: Family, Social Issues, YA
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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.
~ Right off the bat, I like the narration. It feels very confessional, which I love. Nell is also a little off, very attached to her older sister and maybe not quite grounded in reality (we’ll get back to that point). Which of course, is how I like my characters.
~ Nell says people always say that Layla has a good head on her shoulders, and that it was once true. So right away, I want to know what is up with big sister.
~ Felix is super adorable. I love that he takes Spanish with Nell, even though it’s his native language. Also, while working on the school play, Hamlet, the two of them speak Fakespeare, which I, myself, am fluent in.
~ So much of Nell’s self-worth comes from being proud of being Layla Golden’s Little Sister. I only have brothers, all much older than I am, so I just don’t get this. Nell has a hard time separating, or even wanting to separate herself, from Layla. At times it’s feels a bit Single White Female.
~ Parker and Duncan Creed are two brothers whom Nell and Layla knew (although not as well as I thought they did). In her mind, Nell has latched onto the brothers as a weird parallel to her and Layla, convinced that the one brother pretty much willed himself to die after the other took a fatal fall. Now, she talks to them, seeing them as a full on hallucination. Somehow, she avoids the shock therapy I’m pretty sure society would foist on me for having similar delusions.
~ Life Lesson to take away from this book: Be careful about making someone too important to your existence and self-identity.
~ Nell has major trouble dealing when Layla starts pulling away. This I can appreciate, because they do go from super close to Layla acting like a tool because she thinks she’s all adult all of a sudden. I personally would have slapped her and told my parents all the crap she’d been up to right away. Or at least made her pay me to keep my mouth shut.
~ Instead, Layla’s self-involvement leads to Nell making some of her own decisions for once (some good, some truly horrible).
~ Nell is delusional, but Layla is even worse. She’s in a walking cliche of a relationship with Mr. Barr, but of course can’t see that it’s not what she imagines it to be. Of course, if I had had a young, attractive, funny art teacher in high school, maybe I would have fallen for him too. Thankfully, all the teachers at my high school were more of the frumpy and/or grumpy type.
~ Nell’s voice is compelling, and it kept me turning the pages (well, swiping my finger on my Kindle). Her story unfolds like a car crash, and I was rubbernecking the entire time.
Nell- youngest Golden sister, very attached to her older sister, Layla.
Layla- the original Golden sister, at first all appears perfect with her as we see her through the adoring gaze of little sister Nell.
Felix- Nell’s bff, flirty and adorable.
Sam Fitzpatrick- gorgeous classmate of Layla’s, Nell crushes hard on him.
Parker and Duncan- brothers whom Nell talks with about her problems… even though they are dead.
Mr. Barr- art teacher. Nabokov to Layla’s Lolita.
The Mike’s Hard Lemonade Confessions- especially since they came on the heels of a very emotional phone call between the two sisters. And that’s all I’m going to say.
Also, when Nell admits she thinks charcoal smells like poverty and illness. For some reason this literally made me laugh out loud. Thankfully, no one else was around except my dog, who did give me that “Oh, silly human” look that she gives when she thinks I’m being particularly ridiculous. She’s very judgmental for a chiweenie.
Stop the Clock:
I enjoyed this book. The style reminded me a bit of The Virgin Suicides, but it’s very different. I loved Nell’s conversation and obsession with Parker and Duncan to be wonderfully creepy (which was why it reminded me a bit of The Virgin Suicides), and there is a sense of doom haunting the pages. The ending left me a bit cold though. I’m fine with non-neat endings, but I felt like this book was building towards something other than a choose-your-own-adventure kind of end. I liked this book a lot, and I was glued to the pages, but a different ending probably would have rated a 5 star from me. Still, I would definitely recommend this one!
We Are The Goldens gets a Midnight Book rating of: