A contemporary YA perfect for fans of Courtney Summers and Jessi Kirby, THESE THINGS I’VE DONE is the story of a seventeen-year-old girl who accidentally caused her best friend’s death and, a year later, is still grappling with the consequences.
Dara and Aubrey have been inseparable since they became best friends in sixth grade. However, as they begin their sophomore year of high school, cracks in their friendship begin to form, testing the bond they always thought was unbreakable.
It’s been fifteen months since the accident that killed Aubrey, and not a day goes by that Dara isn’t racked with guilt over her role in her best friend’s death. Dara thought nothing could be worse than confronting the memories of Aubrey that relentlessly haunt her, but she soon realizes it isn’t half as difficult as seeing Ethan, Aubrey’s brother, every day. Not just because he’s a walking reminder of what she did, but because the more her feelings for him change, the more she knows she’s betraying her best friend one final time.
As a note, an ARC/ finished copy of this novel was sent to me by the publisher and or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions in any way.
This story was beautiful and heart breaking. It has been a half hour since I’ve finished it, and I honestly have the biggest book hangover I’ve had since the ending of Stars Above by Marissa Meyer. This book brought with it a superfluous amount of emotions.
This was a story which touched upon the topics of loss, coping with guilt. The book’s plot was essentially about a girl named Dara who accidentally killed her best friend.
“They’ll never let me forget that my best friend fell into the path of an oncoming pickup truck and was crushed to death right in front of me.
And they definitely won’t let me forget that I’m the one who pushed her.”
The book starts in the present and the chapters alternate between Dara’s sophomore year
(the past) and senior year (the present). As the book progresses you get to understand and learn about what happened before the tragic accident, which claimed her best friend’s life.
This particular format in which Phillips chose was quite interesting and fun for me to delve into because it provided me with perspective and information about the past which I needed. Also, this format made it easier to see the growth of the characters as well as how drastically they had changed from their past selves.
Personally, I relished reading about the friendship between Aubrey and Dara. I loved that they were basically polar opposites, yet all the while being compatible. Opposites truly attract in this case. It was intriguing for me to witness how their bond was affected so deeply by Justin, Aubrey’s new boyfriend. As for Ethan, Aubrey’s kid brother, I loved seeing what he was before and after the accident. He was sweet and caring. It was exactly what Dara needed to cope/process the events that had happened, a year and a half ago. Without him, in the picture, I’m not exactly sure how she would have managed to let go and finally move on. He provided security, love, and the familiarity of the past, which to me seemed to have eased her into the journey of self-forgiveness. Someone who would also understand and would have gone through the same pain as her.
The journey and obstacles in which Dara had to face were hard to read about at some points. I endured reading the constant heart-tugging material and uncontrollable water works. For her to constantly feel guilty and numb. Wanting to punish herself. All her feelings, thoughts. The way she restricts herself around human beings and social cues. It was all so sad. I wanted an emotional contemporary read, and I got it! These Things I’ve Done is a beautifully powerful story of forgiveness- forgiveness for yourself and for things you can’t undo.
“Mistakes happen, we can hate ourselves for them all we want, but it doesn’t help anything. It just ends up hurting us too.”
This story reminded me of the unpredictability of life. I just could help but fall madly in love with this novel. I recommend this book to everyone who is looking for a heart felt, warm, touching, and cozy contemporary.
This book will be available for purchase, wherever books are sold, on August 1, 2017, in hardcover format for $17.99. Recommended for readers in grade 9 and up.
Pages: 334 – 352
Format: Paperback ARC – Hardcover