Published: May 4th, 2017 by Perfect Storm Publishing (self-published) | Series: N/A | Length: 320 pages | Genre: New adult, romance, contemporary | Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. | Possible Triggers: neglectful/abusive parents, domestic abuse, alcoholism, suicide (none of this happens on the page, but is mentioned)
Summary from Goodreads:
Trevor Adler loathes the music he used to love, but it’s the key to his full-ride scholarship and the ticket away from his dysfunctional parents. To kick off their freshman year, Trevor’s roommate drags him to a frat party, where he ends up face-to-face with his childhood best friend and finds himself entrenched in memories he’d rather forget.
Unable to let Charlie go again without understanding the truth of why she disappeared from his life and chose to become the type of person they always hated, Trevor is relentless in his pursuit of the girl he once knew.
Charlotte (Charlie) Logan is broken. Under her perfectly-crafted exterior are the shards of a shattered heart. A handful of angry words changed her life completely and Charlie’s never been able to forgive herself for the truth she’s hidden from everyone.
While Trevor pushes Charlie to remember the music that lit her soul and the laughter they shared, they find themselves reverting to a banter-filled rhythm that feels all too familiar, yet different now. When Trevor’s own secrets come to light, it becomes clear he and Charlie both must face their tragic pasts if they have any hope at a future together.
I’m just going to dive right into it and say I would’ve liked this book so much more if Trevor was… different. The biggest problem I had with Who She Was and why it ended up being a 3-star read rather than a 4- or 5-star read for me all boils down to Trevor kind of being a condescending douche. First off, he makes several comments that kind of come across as condescending “my generation sucks but I’m Different and Special” comments. For example, making fun of the type of music that other people his age like or making comments about how people are overly dependent on technology. It annoyed the crap out of me. But my main problem was with how he treats Charlie. Despite not having seen or even talked to Charlie for years, upon seeing her again, he immediately decides that he knows what is best for her and what she “needs” to do and I just did not like him. Slight spoilers in the rest of this paragraph: Once we get further into the book (at least halfway through, but I want to say it was more like 2/3 of the way through), we start to really see into his past and he finally acknowledges that he was wrong to try and force her to be the person she was years ago. But it took so long and because of this, I spent the majority of the book not liking one of the main characters which really hindered my ability to get into the story.
It’s not all bad though. There was a lot about Who She Was that I liked. The two roommates/friends, Darcy and Sam, were great characters and I really enjoyed the scenes with them. I especially loved Darcy and Charlie’s friendship. Darcy is a really great and supportive friend and I loved seeing their friendship evolve over the course of the book. Again, slight spoilers here: Sam is gay and I really liked that once he comes out, his friendship with other characters (and especially Trevor) didn’t change. My one issue with the gay representation here was that once Darcy admits to Charlie that she thinks Sam might be gay (this is before he comes out), Charlie says, “Sam’s evolving fashion sense and increasing flare for the dramatic was suddenly making a bit more sense.” Really?? I gave it a pass mostly because it was just that one line, but it’s still worth mentioning.
Those of you who read a lot of my reviews know that I really like when books talk about tougher topics and Who She Was definitely does. Both Charlie and Trevor have some stuff in their past that has really messed with them and continues to affect them years later. I liked seeing them work through it and see them support each other through that process. There were a few things that seemed kind of unhealthy to me, but the story does go on to address the neediness they feel towards each other, so in the end, I wasn’t bothered by it. Smith did a good job of showing that it can help a lot to have someone who is willing to listen to you and support you through tough times, but that they aren’t going to be able to magically fix everything.
While I definitely would have enjoyed Who She Was more if I had liked Trevor, there was still plenty about the story that I enjoyed. If you like new adult romance, especially second-chance romances, then I’d recommend giving this a try! Hope you like angst! 😉
Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.