Published by HarperCollins Australia on March 27th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia
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It's the summer after high school ends and everyone is moving on. Winning scholarships. Heading to uni. Travelling the world. Everyone except Milo Dark. Milo feels his life is stuck on pause. His girlfriend is 200km away, his mates have bailed for bigger things and he is convinced he's missed the memo reminding him to plan the rest of his life. Then Layla Montgomery barrels back into his world after five years without so much as a text message.
As kids, Milo and Layla were family friends who shared everything - hiding out in her tree house, secrets made at midnight, and sunny afternoons at the river. But they haven't spoken since her mum's funeral. Layla's fallen apart since that day. She pushed away her dad, dropped out of school and recently followed her on-again-off-again boyfriend back to town because she has nowhere else to go. Not that she's letting on how tough things have been.
What begins as innocent banter between Milo and Layla soon draws them into a tangled mess with a guarantee that someone will get hurt. While it's a summer they'll never forget, is it one they want to remember?
A boy-meets-girl-again story from the award-winning author of The Intern and Faking It.
Finishing high school is an emotional time, particularly when you’re parting with people you’ve been seeing everyday for most of your life. For the first time, you have a choice of what you want to do in life, where you want to study, if you choose to study, work, travel or do nothing at all.
This is a confusing time for many, and often the expectation of going to uni or further study is placed upon us by our parents and by society. Remind Me How This Ends explores the process of figuring out what you want to do after high school, for two teenagers in the small Aussie town of Durdam. One of them is dealing with grief, the other one who is soul searching. When they reconnect, sparks fly, memories resurface and their life changes.
Featuring one of my favourite romantic tropes of all time, Remind Me How This Ends has a beautiful best friends to lovers romance. As friends who used to spend every minute with each other, Layla and Milo have an easy friendship built upon memories, banter and routines. While we weren’t there at the start of their friendship, we witness them reconnecting with one another and it’s a journey filled with emotion. The chemistry between Layla and Milo was so strong, shown through their text messages and the way they teased each other. I loved their flirty banter and the way they challenged and supported each other.
Both of these characters just felt incredibly vibrant like they could be real people. Layla is dealing with grief from losing her mother, and dating her boyfriend who deals pot. She doesn’t really have anyone else to rely on, as someone who has constantly moved from town to town and someone who’s lost contact with her father. Layla hasn’t properly worked through her emotions and every step forward she takes is a big deal. That includes reconnecting with Milo, who helps her through her emotional journey.
Maybe I am tired of fighting this on my own, like Shirin said. Or maybe, for the first time, I understand there’s nothing to be afraid of any more, because the worst has happened and now it’s over and I’m still here.
Milo on the other hand, is dealing with the confusing emotions of finishing high school, and not knowing what he wants to do. As teenagers, your choices are always forced upon you – you need to study, you need to clean your room, and you need to go to university. It was refreshing to have someone who so clearly needed the time to work out what he wanted to do, and to take the time to do this with his family, despite his parent’s pressuring him. Sometimes, we don’t have all the answers from the start and all it takes it a little inspiration.
I loved the presence of Milo’s family in his life, which was a stark contrast from Layla not having anyone. The brotherly relationship he shares with Trent felt so realistic, often antagonistic, competitive but also dependent. Everything about the novel was developed extremely well, rounding out the characters, their circumstances and their thoughts and actions.
I try and remember everything I said, every accusation I hurled, every hurtful comment I already regret saying. But I can’t.
Remind Me How This Ends also approaches relationships in a meaningful way, particularly where you get together during high school, and are expected to be the ‘golden couple’ who ends up together. This very rarely happens, and Milo shows his disconnect with his girlfriend Sal, even before she moves away for college. It is also shown with Kurt and Layla, as someone who has relied on her boyfriend for emotional support, even though it’s clear he cares more about partying and having a good time. It often takes us a while before we realise, the people we are with aren’t the right ones for us, and I loved how the book explored this.
Featuring a best friends to lovers romance, a small town setting, coping with grief and just figuring out what you want in life, Remind Me How This Ends gave me so many feels. It dealt with so many multiple emotions in such a realistic way and I really felt like the stories of Layla and Milo are reflected in real life stories. For a relatable Aussie YA read about finding your own way, pick this one up! It’s not often I rave about contemporaries, and this was one I loved wholeheartedly.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Thanks HarperCollins Australia for sending me a review copy!
This book is out in Australian bookstores for $17.99 RRP.
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