MarlenaMarlena by Julie Buntin
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on April 4th 2017
Pages: 288
ISBN: 1627797645
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Have you ever read a book where you found yourself reading the beginning over and over again, but not in a good way? I started and stopped this book so many times when I initially picked it up. I really, really struggled with getting into this book. I read three other books while I struggled with the beginning of this book. Once I found my footing, so to speak, I was able to finish the book without any other issues with reading it.

“The people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards. They either help us to become the best version of ourselves or encourage us to become lesser versions of ourselves. We become like our friends…” -Matthew Kelly

Cat’s parent’s divorced and she moved with her brother and Mother to Silver Lake, Michigan. She had to leave her old life behind – her school, her home, her friends, her father. All these losses are huge and not easy to cope with. Cat could really use a friend and that is when she meets Marlena, her neighbor who quickly becomes her best friend. Marlena is beautiful, two years older and has a lot of issues, one of which is taking pills. The two teens form a close bond and during the year, Cat experiences a lot of change and feels accepted by her peer. Cat views Marlena as being worldly and free spirited and begins to develop some bad habits of her own. During their intense friendship, Cat must deal with her friend’s mood swings, dangerous behavior and those in Marlena’s life. Their year long friendship ends when Marlena is found in six inches of water.

The story goes back and forth from the present day when Cat is a thirty-four-year-old adult and back to the pivotal year during her adolescence. Cat, as an adult, has her own struggles and looks back at her adolescence and how that time during her teens shaped her life, and continues to affect the choices she has made. I enjoyed how the Author showed how the choices we make and those we have in our lives can shape us and change us especially during those formative years.

This book was a solid 3 star read, which means that after my initially struggle with this book, I did enjoy it and found it to be very well written, but it didn’t blow me away. I did have a hard time connecting with the characters and found parts to be slow but not so slow that I wanted to put the book down. I enjoyed the premise of this book and had higher hopes for it especially after reading some glowing reviews. We all can’t love the same books and although this book did not WOW me as I had hoped, I enjoyed it. For me this was good not great.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions in this review are my own.