Friday, April 10, 2020

Book Review: You and Me and Us

I don't know about you but quarantine is kicking me in the rear. I think it wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to get a house ready to sell at the same time. I'm working until exhaustion every day and then I come home and read at night and OF COURSE, I picked up a book that gave me all the feels.
You and Me and Us - Alison Hammer

Alexis Gold knows how to put the “work” in working mom. It’s the “mom” part that she’s been struggling with lately. Since opening her own advertising agency three years ago, Alexis has all but given up on finding a good work/life balance. Instead, she’s handed over the household reins to her supportive, loving partner, Tommy. While he’s quick to say they divide and conquer, Alexis knows that Tommy does most of the heavy lifting—especially when it comes to their teenage daughter, CeCe. 

Their world changes in an instant when Tommy receives a terminal cancer diagnosis, and Alexis realizes everything she’s worked relentlessly for doesn’t matter without him. So Alexis does what Tommy has done for her almost every day since they were twelve-year-old kids in Destin, Florida—she puts him first. And when the only thing Tommy wants is to spend one last summer together at “their” beach, she puts her career on hold to make it happen…even if it means putting her family within striking distance of Tommy’s ex, an actress CeCe idolizes.

But Alexis and Tommy aren’t the only ones whose lives have been turned inside out. In addition to dealing with the normal ups and downs that come with being a teenager, CeCe is also forced to confront her feelings about Tommy’s illness—and what will happen when the one person who’s always been there for her is gone. When the magic of first love brings a bright spot to her summer, CeCe is determined not to let her mother ruin that for her, too.

As CeCe’s behavior becomes more rebellious, Alexis realizes the only thing harder for her than losing Tommy will be convincing CeCe to give her one more chance.  

You and Me and Us is a beautifully written novel that examines the unexpected ways loss teaches us how to love.

Phew... I don't know where to start with this because I don't want to ruin anything for you. I'm really not joking when I say that this book needs to unfold naturally at its own pace. Even with that, I had forgotten there was a death of a spouse and that is my worst fear, if Matt died before me. I don't know what I would do so I could kind of imagine what feelings Alexis was having. I couldn't imagine what it was like having a teenager who seemingly hated you because you focused on work far more than you ever did being a parent.

To be honest, that really gutted me. I know what a big deal it is to go to things your child is involved in, and Alexis repeatedly misses them. She's starting a new marketing business and it involves a lot of time, and Tommy has always been able to smooth it over with CeCe, but once he passes away, CeCe is left hanging. Through Alexis's grief, CeCe really struggles with her own grief so she lashes out towards her mom but of course, along comes a boy.

We've all been a teenager with a boy. A first love kind of boy.

As a mom this was gut wrenching and I felt for Alexis and CeCe. I remember being a teenager and what those feelings are like. Two very different people learning to grieve in vastly differently ways the same person who meant the world to them in different things. It's like two people losing their anchor and having to find a way to come together.

You guys. This book was BEAUTIFUL. It was beautifully written, the characters were well organized, the story itself felt like a ribbon twirling in the air. It takes to all of the places we needed to go but so gently and beautifully. It's really the best adjective for this book: beautiful. It had me smiling, it had me tearing up, it had me full out sobbing, and it had me hoping beyond hope that this would come together and end well.

I won't tell you if it does or not but I will say if you are looking for a book to keep you entertained through quarantine, this will be that book for you. If you are in a book club and you are looking for a book, this will be a great selection. I cannot wait to see what Alison Hammer writes next.
A huge thank you to William Morrow and Harper Collins for sending me a copy for review and TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour! All thoughts are my own and this post contains affiliate links. Another suggestion is to check out the Harper Collins website to purchase this one and more because who knows how long we'll be stuck in our houses! 

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