Thursday, November 6, 2014

Review: The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen

Title: The Year We Hid Away
Author: Sarina Bowen
Released: June 2014
Source: Bought
Links: Goodreads ~ Amazon

She’s hiding something big. He’s hiding someone small.

Scarlet Crowley’s life was torn apart the day father was arrested for unspeakable crimes. Now the shock has worn off, but not the horror. 

It’s a safe bet that Scarlet is the only first year at Harkness College who had to sneak past TV news trucks parked on her front lawn just to leave town. But college will be Scarlet’s fresh start. Clutching a shiny new student ID — with a newly minted name on it — she leaves it all behind. Even if it means lying to the boy she’s falling for.

Bridger McCaulley is a varsity hockey star known for being a player both on and off the ice. But a sobering family crisis takes that all away. Protecting his sister means a precarious living arrangement and constant deception. The only bright spot in his week is the few stolen hours he spends with Scarlet.

The two form a tentative relationship based on the understanding that some things must always be held back. But when grim developments threaten them both, going it alone just won’t work anymore. And if they can’t learn to trust one another now, the families who let them down will take everything they’ve struggled to keep.

My Review:

The Year We Hid Away is book 2 in the Ivy Years Series.  It is the story of Bridger and Scarlet.  

We met Bridger in The Year We Fell Down, and got to know the womanizing hockey player who had a heart of gold where his little sister was concerned.  In his book, there are lots of changes for Bridger, one, he's given up Hockey and women.  Two, he's taken on a more parental role.  He's keeping a lot of secrets, not only from those in authoritative positions, but also from those nearest and dearest, namely his best friends. 

Scarlet Crowley comes to Harkness for a fresh start.  Her father has been charged with unfathomable crimes and she's been charged guilty by association, namely being his daughter. So she's changed her name in an effort to shut out that part of her life and establish a new life all of her own.  By secreting herself away before her parents know it, Scarlet hopes to leave the past behind her, but that's not always easy to do.  For Scarlet, it means sacrifices.  Giving up things that matter to her, lying to everyone she meets, including the boy she's falling for. 

Bridger McCaulley is also facing sacrifices in his life, but his goal isn't to gain anything for himself, its to keep his sister, Lucy, safe and with him.  His sacrifices also giving up important things to him and lying to everyone.  If the truth came out, Bridger isn't the only one who would suffer. 

Scarlet and Bridger come together shortly after the school year begins, with an understanding that they both have secrets they can't or wont' talk about and the relationship will have to be a "take what you can get" sort.  Things, of course, spiral from there and both Scarlet and Bridger come to realize that their relationship  is stronger and deeper than they ever thought it could be and that scares them both because of their private struggles.  

When Scarlet finds out what Bridger has been hiding, instead of running way, she does what she can to help and falls even more for him.  With her help, Bridger feels a tiny bit of pressure off and also starts to fall deeper.  

Then the unexpected happens, Scarlet's past merges with the present in a explosive way and Scarlet, afraid to involve Bridger in her drama in a way that could affect him negatively pulls away leaving both of them shattered.   To add further insult, Bridger's secrets implode as well. Luckily, Scarlet is able to help Bridger out and as she does she tells him the truth of her disappearing act and quickly they are able to forgive each other.  

I loved Scarlet's fierce loyalty to Bridger, her dedication to help him with Lucy, no matter what was awesome.  Bridger's willingness to give up anything he had to to make things work to keep his sister in his life and in his custody showed a tremendous depth of love and character.  

The Year We Hid Away was full of twists and turns, and emotional scenes.  Both Bridger and Scarlet had a lot to deal with and both felt lost and alone until they let each other in.  Their story was truly a wonderful read.  

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