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Always There by Carol Ann Albright-Eastman
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"I should've learned then that the people you love the most in life aren't always going to be there to do your hair, make you breakfast, or hug you goodbye."

I was blown away by this book for a couple reasons. First, the pain that the characters have endured and continue to endure trying to get over the deaths that have plagued them one after another. Shelby struggles to hold on to life while resisting the love of those around her. Her siblings mourning the loss of their family members and the "loss" of the Darby everyone loves. Shelby's parents and family members up in "Here" trying to cope with being "Here", not knowing how their children are faring "There." There is a lot of loss and love to embrace and learn from in this book. Learning to move on and find your way is always the inevitable; some people just take the longer road to get there.

"It's the pain and setbacks that make a person strong and resilient."

"...Our lives are eerily parallel."

"I was experiencing feelings that we didn't normally feel here; they almost made me feel more alive."

Secondly, the parallels of turmoil were remarkable. When Shelby's mother was having such internal struggles and turmoil "Here," Shelby was going through her own internal struggles and turmoil "There." Shelby's mother worrying that her children hadn't been able to become successful without her; Shelby struggling with opening her heart back up to those who love her most. Shelby has taken all of the death around her and closed herself off from everyone. The parallel emotions going on simultaneously is remarkable and mirrored with perfection.

"You can't always choose who you fall in love with. Sometimes love just chooses you."

Finally, this book is just remarkable in defining love, loss, and resiliency. Wait, didn't I already say that? Well, maybe I did. So I am saying it again. The love of this family in this book shows just how strong their love is in life and in death. The bonds of a family are as strong as you make them. This family has a bond that will last eternally. I fell in love with this family and this story. This book is so heartwarming, and everyone can relate to the love and emotions that all of the characters go through. Anyone questioning whether or not to read this book, there is no question.... the answer is read. Read it; enjoy it; embrace it; learn from it; cry over it. ( )
  UANBookAddict | Dec 3, 2015 |
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