Source: Random House Kids – I received this in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Edition: Hardcover, 197 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Purchase: Amazon/ Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Nell worships her older sister, Layla. They’re one unit, intertwined: Nellayla. As Nell and her best friend, Felix, start their freshman year in high school, on Layla’s turf, there’s so much Nell looks forward to: Joining Layla on the varsity soccer team. Parties. Boys. Adventures.
But the year takes a very different turn.
Layla is changing, withdrawing. She’s hiding something, and when Nell discovers what it is, and the consequences it might have, she struggles. She wants to support Layla, to be her confidante, to be the good sister she’s always been. But with so much at stake, what secrets should she keep? What lies should she tell?
Award-winning young adult author Dana Reinhardt explores questions of loyalty, love, and betrayal in this provocative and intimate novel.
We Are the Goldens is another contemporary that took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting it to pull me in or have me hanging on every word, but it did. It centers around Nell as she tries to figure out why her older sister (by 8 months) is suddenly shutting her out and becoming more distant, and how when she finds out the reason everything changes.
It seems that lately the hot topic is the love between sisters, thanks to Frozen in part, so I’m not sure surprised that this is a new release. It shows just how badly secrets can hurt a family, even when no one knows about them, and it shows just how much a siblings can love each other. I really liked the “note” style of writing that this was told in as we get to see Nell ‘tell’ her sister how much things changed, how much they affected her, and how much she loves her. We all know that you would go to the ends of the earth to protect and help your family, but what happens when you need to go against them? What happens when you know the situation is horrible but telling someone means the possibility of loosing the connection you had? That’s what We Are The Goldens is about.
I loved Nell. She was a bit naive at times, but being a freshmen in high school that’s to be expected. She doesn’t make the best choices all the time, but she does learn from them. I also liked seeing her come into her own.She’s so close to her sister that even she admits the lines are blurred between them, but as the novel progresses and things become worse it becomes clear that as Layla pulls away Nell becomes more of her own person. Then there is Felix, who is hilarious and exactly the kind of best friend a girl needs. The connection between these two is amazing and I wish I had had a best friend like him in high school. Layla slowly lost my respect over the course of the story, but mostly I just felt sorry for her. People will always wonder if characters are true to life, but I’ve known some Laylas…they’re real. You want to shake them and make them see the obvious reality of it but they never do because they need to see it for themselves or have the decision to change made for them.
We Are the Goldens is about the high school experience and more. We get to see how amazing friendships can be, what happens when first love turns into regret, how lying hurts everyone, and how families can grow a part. The ending is prtty open, but I feel like it’s perfect that way. I don’t need to know what happens after the secret comes out, because an open end means I think about it more and this is a novel worth thinking about.