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QOTD: Do you read book reviews BEFORE picking up a book? Or do you prefer to go in blind?
Most of the time, no. I’ll read enough of the synopsis and maybe one or two reviews, just so I know if I’m likely to enjoy the book or if it’s clearly a waste of my time. The fun part is when I get a book, let it sit long enough to forget what it was about, and then I picked it up to read. Going in blind definitely amps up the experience and makes the book far more enjoyable (in most cases).
While Finding Me started off on a bit of a depressing note, I quickly found myself sucked into Claire’s story. Kelly Gunderman made me feel Claire’s pain at the tragedy of losing her mother and finding out she’s never going to walk again, as well as the discomfort she felt at starting a new school. As strange as it sounds (in the beginning, at least), I actually felt bad for Todd, as well. It’s not like the accident that killed Claire’s mom was his fault. Even though it was his dad’s fault, Claire has a hard time being around Todd (also understandable), until they’re pushed together for a class project.
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Finding Me is ultimately the story of two teenagers, surrounded by tragedy, who are forced together. Would they be able to move past everything that happened and find a way to co-exist? Would I, in the same situation? I’m not sure. Claire certainly puts up walls, trying to keep Todd from getting too close.
Fantastic Character Development
Finding Me had some seriously amazing character development. Within the first few chapters, I found characters I enjoyed and ones I severely disliked. Not once did I feel like I was reading about characters who were just words on a page. I was able to fully immerse myself in their lives and their story, seeing them for all their strengths (and their faults).
LISA, THE NEW BEST FRIEND. I loved Lisa’s character right away. She’s upbeat, social, and is the first one to really reach out to Claire, helping her fit into her new life. It’s almost like she throws her a lifeline. She never treats Claire like she’s broken or unable to do certain things. Lisa is there when she’s needed and always seems to truly want to help others.
APRIL, THE OLD BEST FRIEND. I had serious issues with April at the beginning of Finding Me (and most of the way through the book, if I’m going to be blunt). She’s supposed to be Claire’s best friend, but she starts treating her like absolute crap. She has this attitude of “why should they have to put their lives on hold because Claire’s is falling apart?” and that really irked me. A best friend doesn’t say that. As the story progressed, my opinion of her changed, and then changed again. It was a constant see-saw of like her, hate her. She’s a well-written character, but not one of my favorites.
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TODD. The past two years have been almost as rough on Todd as they have been on Claire. After his dad caused the accident that killed Claire’s mom and paralyzed her, his world pretty much falls apart. Can you blame him? They have no money, no support, nothing. He’s working after school to help his mom pay bills, but most of the time, they don’t even have enough to turn the heat on.
Todd definitely overcomes a lot in Finding Me. When he met Claire, he could have just left her alone. Turned and ran. But he pushes, not giving up, and his life gets a lot better for it. His and Claire’s relationship is one of my favorites.
GRANDMA. I adored Claire’s grandma! She was one of my favorite characters throughout the book. The only thing that bothered me was how Claire kept mentally noting how frail and tired her grandma was getting, so I was constantly wondering if something bad was going to happen to her. Other than that, I loved how supportive she was. She’s a cross between parent and best friend, the perfect mix of the two.
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What about the plot?
As you can see from my review, I was very character-oriented in this book. The plot was great – moving at a fast enough pace, without feeling like you’re missing things – but the story definitely centered around the characters, their lives, and their growth. Each main character changes in one way or another and the way everything wrapped up felt very natural. Definitely a book I would recommend.
Moment of Truth – Did Finding Me live up to the hype?
Because of my desire to go into most books semi-blind, I didn’t know a lot about Finding Me before I picked it up. I wouldn’t really say there’s a lot of hype surrounding it, though the synopsis was enough to make me want to read it. And yes, it delivered. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves stories where the characters need to overcome great odds to be together.
If you want more of the book tour and where to connect with Kelly Gunderman, head on over to our other blog!