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Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

I'm not too sure how to put into words what I feel for this book.

Title: We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt
Release Date: May 27th 2014
Published by: Wendy Lamb Books
Source: Publisher (Thanks Ms. Jenny!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.

When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellayla. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They're a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell's a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she's happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it's wrong, and she must do something about it.

There are various reasons why I love this book, but I'm only listing two. One, obviously is because I have an older sister (and a twin brother) and I definitely know what it feels like to live in the shadow of someone who is just "more" than you think you'll ever be, and yet they're someone you virtually spend your life with. Nell grew up believing that she and Layla are the same, Nellayla. But as they grow older, Nell realized that they're not, and while Layla is the Golden sister everyone knows, and she'll always be "N. Golden", Nell still adored, looked up, idolized and believed in her older sister. But what if she's not what everyone thought she was?

As two people, Nell and Layla grow up experiencing life differently and Nell as the younger sister wanted to know everything about her sister. Nell is a complicated mix of emotions, envy, and always that nagging, lingering feeling inside her that asks 'why not her?' and 'why is it always Layla?'. I felt for her at that point, and I understand that feeling, sisterhood. You want to be there, and the way both of their feelings were portrayed were heartfelt and convincing. I was frustrated, worried, afraid and disappointed like Nell was, and surprisingly, like Layla. This was written in Nell's point of view, but I loved how I was able to also take a peek in Layla's life, see what's behind that seemingly perfect facade. It was fascinating, interesting and somewhat terrifying.

My second reason: Dana Reinhardt's masterful writing style. When I first read The Summer I Learned to Fly, it took a lot for me not to cry. The way she was able to convey what Nell feels through everything just gets to you. You're not human if you don't feel anything while reading this book. She was able to craft Nell and Layla, two sisters seemingly inseparable, as similar characters and yet different in ways that matter. Dana Reinhardt made sure both sisters navigated through teenage life the way a teenager should: they make mistakes, fall in and out of love, get confused, get hurt, get frightened, get angry, desperate. It's a painful, but amazing experience in more ways than one.

Felix deserves a special mention in this book. He's this adorable, charming guy, the perfect example of that right person you're looking for all your life, but was there in front of you all along, loving you in the way he knew how. He's funny and sarcastic and caring, a boy who's all smiles but also vulnerable and afraid of the trials life is throwing his way.

We Are the Goldens is a memorable read for me. The concept of family, sisterhood and the lengths one must go to in order to keep a secret, to preserve the fragile bonds between two people growing up, experiencing life and love and what they're willing to do to keep everything 'perfect' was written in such a simple, mysterious way, the suspense holding you off the last minute. And you wait, and wait, and wait some more until it was time to reveal everything. Until you start to wonder, what happens next? One can only guess.

That familiar pinch to the heart, that lightning quick searing pain, the bittersweet emotions welling up, gone the moment you feel it and then you find yourself saying "Ah, yes... this is how it feels when I read a Dana Reinhardt book". I loved and hated the feelings her books always make me feel right after I finish reading them. This is a good one.

Content (plot, story flow, character):
The 1 star was left off because of my frustration for Layla... she was such an idiot, blinded by love. And she was supposed to be the rational Golden, the one with the good head on her shoulders. I felt so bad for Nell because it always had to be her who lies, who keeps secrets, and what does Layla do? *sigh*

Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!

Book Cover:
The expressions on their faces tells everything you need to know about the book.


  1. This book sounds really good! I love family sagas, so I'll definitely check this out! Great review! :) btw, just started a new book blog myself, hope you can check it out!

    1. Hope you get to read it soon!~ Thanks for the comment. :)


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