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Every Last Promise by Kristin Halbrook
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Every Last Promise

by Kristin Halbrook

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Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: This story dragged for longer than necessary and was too similar to Pretty Little Liars for my liking.

Opening Sentences: This is a story about heroes. I am not one of them.

The Review:

This is the second story of late that has reminded me of the television series Pretty Little Liars. At first, the resemblance was irritating: four popular and beautiful best friends living in a small town with their perfect simple lives, and then how suddenly all that changes. Their secrets tear them apart. However, towards the end the story became more unique and I was glad that I could no longer predict what would happen next.

Every Last Promise is told from Kayla’s perspective and the chapters alternate between the seasons Summer and Fall; which is essentially the ‘before’ and ‘after’ the ‘accident’ that changed everything.

My least favourite character has to be Selena. God she was infuriating. An immensely vain and typical mean girl; I couldn’t comprehend why the girls were friends with her especially when she deserted her best friend after, what I think is the most horrific thing that could happen to a girl.

“Well, I don’t believe in souls at all,” Selena said.
T.J. crossed the lunchroom and sat next to me, catching the end of Selena’s statement. “Why not?” he said.
“Because it’s inconvenient. My Catholic soul is destined to burn in hell if I do anything wrong. It’s not worth the anxiety to believe when it’s so much more freeing not to. If I went to confession, the priest would die of shock.”

I guess I should be disgusted by Kayla for not speaking up sooner and at first I was but as the story unraveled I realised that the situation was a lot more complicated than it first seemed. Her hesitancy was, in a weird and twisted way, understandable. Kayla craved her old, simple life, she was scared of what would happen if she revealed the truth and was further confused because Bean hadn’t spoken up herself. I felt sorry for her — how do you stand up to bullies that are idolized by the rest of the town?

“I don’t care what they say or think. If they forgive you or not. Do you ever think you don’t need it? Forgiveness. From anyone. That an accident is just that? Something awful that happened. Not anyone’s fault.” It’s a whisper, gentle and inexplicably caring, and I want to enfold myself in the comfort of it.
“It’s my fault if people say it is.”

The main flaw with this book was that although it’s clear that something big had caused a rift between the girls and Bean, we see very little of Bean. I thought that was a shame and given the subject matter it would have been useful to understand how she felt in the aftermath. As a result, out of all the girls, I found it hardest to connect with Bean simply because she was always brushed aside and I knew so little about her.

Another annoying thing was how everyone hates Kayla when she returns and then as soon as Jay forgives her, they all suddenly become her besties. It’s like the ‘being mean to Kayla’ button is switched off automatically. I thought it was beyond unrealistic.

It took forever for Kayla to reveal her secret but I was so annoyed that I didn’t get to find out what actually happened afterwards. How did everyone react? Was there a trial? Did Bean get any justice? Did Selena feel any remorse for keeping quiet? The ending was a shame, the story line dragged and was too similar to the TV show for my liking but give it a try and let me know what you think!

Notable Scene:

Kayla Martin. Running away again.

I don’t care. I hurry away. People are watching. My movements are staggered, jagged-edge like a broken window. My shoes slam against the concrete of the sidewalk, and I wish my skin was thicker, dense enough to not care about what I know everyone’s thinking. What they’re all saying.

About the girl who killed a boy then skipped town.

A sob escapes and my shoulders quake and I can’t help it. I wish I could. I don’t want sympathy.

I don’t.

I want home.

I want this place so much.

But they don’t want me back.

FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Every Last Promise. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Jul 20, 2015 |
3 stars (liked it)
I wanted to read Last Promise because I looked Halbrook's other novel and I am drawn to these types of books and subjects. It deals with such hard real life topics and I like when authors address then realistically and give an in to discuss such subjects like sexual assault and think through things like what would I do if I witnessed something like that. Or if I were the victim....

It was pretty confusing with the time line jumping back and forth. I never really got a sense of how everyone related for awhile into the story because there was a group of four friends in the before. and that is always harder for me to to get a handle on the dynamics and the different personalities even without the jumps in time where all of the alliances change and so many people were calling the main character Kayla a killer when the reader is left not knowing the details.

But I wanted to know what happened and connect with Kayla even though it took longer than I wanted for that to happen I finally realized how it all connected and I understood why she was so scared and why she acted the way she did. I was glad she finally had the courage to do the right thing.

There was a nice little romance in this one. I liked that it never took eve front seat tho the bigger issues but targeted reinforced Kayla and the strengths she had but didn't realize.

I wish that stories like this didn't happen in real life but hope that this can make some one brave with to speak up either for themselves or for someone else.

Bottom Line: Confusing time jumps but good mystery. ( )
  brandileigh2003 | Apr 20, 2015 |
This was an interesting story which alternated in time from Spring to Fall. The story begins with these two intriguing sentences: "This is a story about heroes. I am not one of them."

It is told by Kayla Martin about the events that happened at the end of the year party alternating with her return to school in the fall as a social pariah. She loves her home town. Despite the urging of her best friends, she has no desire to leave after high school. She loves the scenery, the people, and the lifestyle. She has three best friends - Jen, Bean and Selena. They are part of the in-crowd. Jen and her twin brother Jay are from a rich family. Jay is the football quarterback of their championship team. He has grown up with a sense of entitlement encouraged by his mother. Jen sometimes loves him and sometimes hates him because of the privileges he gets.

When we switch to the fall scenes we see a different Kayla than the care-free one from last spring. She is accused of killing one of the other boys in their class and she has major guilt about the whole thing. Gradually we find out what happened at the end of the year party and how she came to be involved in the accident that took a life.

We see Kayla's disillusionment as she discovers that her home town is the magic, innocent place that she had thought it was. We see her struggling to try to fit back in at the place that she wanted to be her home for her whole life. All she has to do to fit back in is to forget what she saw and pretend that what she knows never happened.

As she is trying to decide what to do, she connects again with a boy who has always been there but who has perfected his ability to be invisible. Noah Michaelson was a childhood friend but has been on the fringe of her life since they grew up. He's different from the other guys both because he has a Filipino mother and because he is interested in music rather than sports. Now Kayla is running into him where ever she goes. She has begun to realize that many people know the secret she is keeping and are keeping it for their own reasons.

This was a fascinating story about having to make a hard decision that will certainly change the course of a life. ( )
  kmartin802 | Mar 14, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062121286, Paperback)

Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson and Gayle Forman, Every Last Promise is a provocative and emotional novel about a girl who must decide between keeping quiet and speaking up after witnessing a classmate's sexual assault.

Kayla saw something at the party that she wasn't supposed to. But she hasn't told anyone. No one knows the real story about what happened that night—about why Kayla was driving the car that ran into a ditch after the party, about what she saw in the hours leading up to the accident, and about the promise she made to her friend Bean before she left for the summer.

Now Kayla's coming home for her senior year. If Kayla keeps quiet, she might be able to get her old life back. If she tells the truth, she risks losing everything—and everyone—she ever cared about.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:02 -0400)

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