Things I Can't Forget (Hundred Oaks #3) by Miranda Kenneally
Blurb from Goodreads:
Companion to Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker.
Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…
This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt…with her. Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…
Earlier this year, I devoured Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker. For me, both of the first two books in the Hundred Oaks series by Miranda Kennealy were perfect -- raw with teenage vulnerability, true, sweet and just plain beautiful not only in their plots but also in their words. Without even reading the premise of Things I Can't Forget, I pre-ordered it and couldn't wait to read it. However, when I read the first chapter, I was worried. I immediately felt like Kate was too harsh, too judgmental for me to relate to her and want to read her story. But as I read more, I remembered that I used to have very Kate like moments when I was her age -- I remembered that part of me that was not as open as I like to think I am now. And I trusted Miranda that we would be swept -- everyone one of us that reads this book -- into the folds of Kate's mind and heart without equivocation. It happened.
I loved the camp setting -- the descriptions made me feel like I was back at summer camp. Miranda was able to capture the joy, the outdoors, the magic of being at camp while still progressing the story and Kate's growth. Some moments made me laugh out loud and other moments my stomach sank and my heart raced. Kate and Matt together absolutely felt right -- so right that my heart ached during some of the difficult scenes between them and especially through Kate's internal struggles.
This may be my favorite in the series yet. It's hard to say because all of the books are just that good -- I think I see pieces of myself, and especially my teenage self, in Jordan, Parker and Kate. I felt like I was re-living that time in my life, but with a new perspective that could actually allow me to breathe. This is one book that will stay with me forever. If I ever have a daughter, I want her to read these books. To understand that her struggle is, in a way, the same struggle of all teenage girls. These books teach us that it is okay to struggle -- and that it will get better.
“After two hours of ethics, and in a very un-camping-like move, Megan announces we're having pizza delivered for dinner. "Really?" Eric says, throwing his hands in the air before going back to cleaning supplies in his tackle box. He must be pissed we're not out hunting deer with bows and arrows and grilling it up. This isn't Beowulf, Eric. It's 2012!”