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Seventeen year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Miller’s life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alienated from her parents, especially her father… until her mother decides it would be in everyone’s best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him.
Ronnie’s father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church. The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story about love in its myriad forms – first love, the love between parents and children – that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that deeply felt relationships can break our hearts… and heal them.
I listened to the audiobook. I will first share my thoughts on the overall story and then at the end my thoughts regarding the narration.
I’d never read (or listened to for that matter) a Nicholas Sparks books. I am familiar with most of his work because so many have recently been turned into films. I had not yet soon the movie for this one, which was a good thing I think. Despite that I knew what the characters in the movie looked like (Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth) they did not look like that in my head. Ronnie felt so not Miley Cyrus to me. She was so good. Yes, she made the wrong choices at times but that made her human. Every decision she made was totally understandable and based on information she had access to.
I loved Jonah’s character as well. I really had his own personality, with all his quirks. He really seemed like a good little brother. Over the course of the book the relationship between Jonah and Ronnie went from amicable to the true bond of family. It was the same case between Ronnie and her father. Stephen get’s the chance to be her father again and Ronnie let’s him. It would have been so easy to ignore every line he threw her, instead they pick the difficult road. Accepting faults and mistakes made in the past and working on a future together.
Will was yet again, a wonderfully sweet boy. I remarked in an earlier review that I think most YA boys are just a little too though, so Will was a winner! Sparks could have made a Southern caricature out of Will but didn’t. Despite the class differences between Ronnie and Will that so upset his mother, he was never demeaning to her. He above all valued her goodness. They found a way to work around problems and gave each other the chance to be vulnerable.
Stephen’s acceptance and courage were really inspiring. He does all the right things with his children and his ex-wife. He gives them the chance to come to terms with themselves and their surroundings despite his own bleak prospects. He is a wonderful father.
The side characters Marcus, Scott and Blaize (Galadriel) functioned as guiders. They directed the story into more perilous waters so to say. They could’ve had more distinct personalities but they served their purpose.
I cannot really comment on the writing style as I had no book in front of me, but the audio sounded good.
Verdict of the Narration:
The narration of this book was cleverly done: the male chapters were narrated by Scott Sowers and the female chapters by Pepper Brinkley. I liked it because it was immediately obvious from which perspective that particular chapter was told. I had one annoyance about the audiobook that bothered me at times: the female narrator made Ronnie sounds so whiny, which was really misplaced because Ronnie was not whiny at all. It did however not really overrule so it was annoying but not burdensome to listen too. It was great that Hachette included some piano pieces at the end of some chapters. That is was a huge plus!
Overall I really liked this book. It did however not make as much impact as Second Chance Summer. I therefore give it 4 stars.