Young adult, romance, contemporary
Julia Day's Fade to Us is a story about found families, the bond of sisterhood, and the agony and awe of first love.
Brooke's summer is going to be EPIC― having fun with her friends and a job that lets her buy a car. Then her new stepfather announces his daughter is moving in. Brooke has always longed for a sibling, so she’s excited about spending more time with her stepsister. But she worries, too. Natalie has Asperger’s--and Brooke's not sure how to be the big sister that Natalie needs.
After Natalie joins a musical theater program, Brooke sacrifices her job to volunteer for the backstage crew. She’s mostly there for Natalie, but Brooke soon discovers how much she enjoys being part of the show. Especially sweet is the chance to work closely with charming and fascinating Micah--the production’s stage manager. If only he wasn't Natalie's mentor...
When her summer comes to an end, will Brooke finally have the family she so desperately wants--and the love she's only dreamed about?
When I first heard of this book, I got really excited at the aspect that there was a character with Aspergers Syndrome. I hardly ever find books that have any characters with disorders, when I do, they're not the best at depicting these types of disorders in a proper way.
I really appreciate the author writing a character like this and adding in realistic talks, actions, and thoughts. You could tell how hard it was to be a parent of Natalie and a step-sister as well, but despite the difficult situation, everything did treat Natalie like she was a human being and not some kid with a disorder.
This book definetely will stick with me, but not just for that reason, and I'll get into that.
I loved how this was a mixed-type family. Mother and daughter, a step-dad and his daughter all under one roof. It's not overly dramatic like some books, the step-dad isn't terrible or absent and neither is the mom. For all intents and purposes, they're a normal family.
My issue with the family setting of the plot is how little they're shown together. This feels much more like a book about changes and adapting to life, so I would have liked to see some more plot development between the family, especially between the step-dad and Brooke. Their relationship felt pretty rushed toward the end, and I would have liked to see it more developed over the book instead of small, quick scenes between them that often left nothing to be desired.
This kind of came off as a romance, and while it did have that aspect, it was a small amount. I was expecting a bit more in this stance, to be honest. The romance that was in it was shallow and not in depth. I would have wanted to see more of a relationship between Brooke and Micah. The end was rushed and didn't really add closure to their relationship and plans for the future. This is really just a very clean YA read, which is great, but not what I expected.
Natalie is the best part of this book, hands down. I think it's very important to raise awareness for any disorder, and Julia Day did fantastic at showing someone with Aspergers. It felt realistic and as if Julia Day personally knows someone like this (I know nothing about her life). This was the best plot point and how having Natalie made things difficult but also added some humor.
Brooke is the main character of the story. I really want to say how sympathetic I feel towards Brooke in this book. She's seventeen, and while I understand its much different to have a step-sibling--or anyone with a disorder--around, I felt like the expectations put on her weren't fair. She came across as the mother-figure many times and I felt like the parents should have done better. Brooke as a character though was great. She's just trying to buy a car, be a good daughter and step-sister, and is falling for Micah. She's normal and down to earth, even talking about her jiggly thighs, which I connect with! She's just a normal, real teenager and I really appreciate that in this story.
The parents (because I can't remember their names) were a huge disappointment. They fell flat and felt two-dimensional to me. They could have been around more and took care of Natalie, not just leaving it to Brooke to handle so much. The step-dad especially disappointed me. He seemed like he wanted to try and connect more with Brooke but never really attempted to talk to her until the last chapter of the book.
Natalie is my favorite character. Her presence is around even when she isn't. I love how real she comes across and if anyone has had experience with someone like this, they know it's pretty accurate. The conversations, how she talks and explains things, her meltdowns are all so real and written perfectly.
Micah is the hero-ish of this story. I really wish I can say I love him but at this moment it's more of a general like. He came across nice, not too many problems, and liked Brooke a lot. All great, but he fell kinda flat for me. He just seemed like a side character and not really important. Which is why I'm disappointed because I thought this was more romance, not a story about family changes. We do learn some about Micah but I wish he was a more in-depth character.
Brooke has a friend (forgot her name because I didn't care for her!) and I couldn't' stand her. She doesn't like Natalie, mostly because she's different and doesn't understand her, which fine, is also realistic for someone who hasn't been around anyone like that. But she's just a terrible friend. She hardly talks to Brooke after she decides to hang out with Natalie more and ends up with Brooke's ex-boyfriend?? She seemed very snooty to me. I also would have liked their "fix" to be seen because we got nothing from them.
Overall, this is an okay book. Natalie and the realistic way she's portrayed is really the only good thing about this book. It just fell flat and wasn't what I expected, espeically after reading the description itself. It's a pretty fast read but boring at parts and I ended up skipping over paragraphs and dialogue at times.
This is a clean, YA book about family changes and a tad of romance. Nothing is fully completed it feels like by the end. It feels very cliff-hangy (its a standalone!) so I'm a tad annoyed at that. Have your read this book? What are your thoughts?