Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I am excited to be today's stop on the Things I Can't Forget Blog Tour. My stop includes a review and guest post from Miranda Kenneally. Thanks to Sourcebooks for inviting me to take part in the tour.

Things I Can't Forget (Hundred Oaks, #3)Series: Hundred Oaks #3
Category/Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: 3/1/13
Format: eARC
Pages: 320
Source: Received from publisher for review
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…

Read an excerpt here.

Note: Mature themes, sexual situations, religious discussions.

At this point I have read a ton of reviews for Things I Can't Forget. Almost all have given Miranda Kenneally high praised (very well-deserved) for her writing and the story. Almost all have also mentioned having a hard time connecting with Kate. I am absolutely not trying to argue or discount those feelings, each person comes to a book bringing their unique outlook on life and relationships. What I want to do is offer an alternative point-of-view in regards to Kate.

Kate Kelly is maybe the best example I have personally read for a character who is driven, and often conflicted, by their faith. I know this might make her appear to be judgmental and pushy, and I'm not going to argue with that. The thing is, if you've been raised in a very strict church that takes the Bible and it's rules very literally, this is often who you become. I know this because almost all my friends were like Kate, and I even caught myself doing it when I was really young. We were raised going to a very, very strict church, probably even stricter than Kate's because it didn't even allow music in church or dancing. Kate was raised with a specific set of standards to live by, God's standards, and she takes that seriously. I had a friend (of an even stricter religion) tell me I was going to Hell for cutting my bangs. My best friend told me my Uncle would go to Hell for getting a divorce. Though my feelings were hurt, I didn't exactly get mad at them, because I knew that's what they were taught. A lot of that went by the wayside, though, when we became teenagers. We went to parties, we kissed a lot of boys. We still knew these things we "wrong", we just traded our piousness for a buttload of guilt.

See, Kate feels guilty; for things she's done, things she's said, every errant thought or feeling. Guilt. Guilt. Guilt. And it will drive you crazy, trust me. My point is: Yes, with her judmental thoughts, worries, and guilt, Kate may be hard to connect with, but that just means that Kenneally nailed the portrayal of a girl conflicted by the world around her. Kate sees the world in black or white, wrong or right. Things I Can't Forget is Kate's journey of learning that the world is not concrete, there are many shades of grey to what she thought was absolutes. And if you don't see that when you're reading this, you're going to miss a really powerful story.

Okay, I'm climbing down off my soapbox now... So how about that story?! I personally love books set at summer camps, maybe because I never got to go. I enjoyed the different personlities of the counselors, and how they interacted with one another. Of course, my favorite counselor was Matt, a super cute, super sweet guy Kate knew from her own camp experience. I loved that Matt had this open, affectionate way with Kate, but still maintained a bit of a mysterious edge. To see Matt, with his relaxed nature, help bring Kate out of her shell was so endearing. I loved being able to experience them falling in love. AND, it was so so so great to have Parker and Will at camp, and to get to see a bit of Sam and Jordan!

Ultimately, for me, Things I Can't Forget was Kate's journey of forgiveness and acceptance. She needs to forgive herself. She needs to accept that others won't always see the world the same, or feel the way she does. And she needs to accept herself.

Things I Can't Forget was a beatifully written, very thoughtful story. It's my favorite Miranda Kenneally book yet.

Favorite Quote:

  "Your dress is pretty," he whispers in my ear.
  "You dance well."
  "You feel good."
  He thinks I feel good?
  "You do, too," I mumble, nearly choking on the words.
  "I love your hair," he says, clutching a clump of it.
  "I love your invisible shoes." We look down at his bare feet, and laughing, we look up at each other. He shakes the dirty blond hair out of his eyes and holds my gaze, pulling me closer. My heart pounds against my chest.  ~eARC, 39%

  I like how he touches my jaw and stares deep into my eyes, like I'm the only girl he's ever seen. He drinks beer and I know he wouldn't mind sharing a bed with me.
  But this week, when I asked him if he believes in God, he said, "What a silly question. Just look at that." He turned me to face the sun setting above the rolling hills beyond camp.
  If I were to ditch Matt and wait for a guy who's 100 percent devout, I might end up with a guy who doesn't stare at me like I'm the only girl he's ever seen.  ~eARC, 61%

Top Ten things Miranda Kenneally would change about her high school years if she could go back in time

1. I would do my homework the night before school rather than 10 minutes before class.
2. I would pull my pants up. Sagging was not cool then and it’s not cool now.

3. I would not consider the daughter of the owner of the local car dealership a “celebrity.”

4. I would not wear those two-inch long crocodile earrings. Really, Miranda, what were you thinking?

5. I would accept the soccer captain’s invitation to come swim at his pool instead of wussing out.

6. I would’ve waited for my first kiss. The guy I kissed first was not a good guy, and it wasn’t worth it just to say I’d kissed someone.

7. I would confront the school guidance counselor, who told me I’d “fail” if I went to an out-of-state college. And if I got in trouble for telling her off? So be it.

8. I would push harder for a role in Fiddler on the Roof instead of settling for stage manager again!

9. That time me and some of the guys took my mom’s SUV mudding? Yeah, I would not do that again. Even 5 trips through the carwash didn’t get rid of the mud. What a nightmare.

10. I would read more books instead of worrying about guys so much!
About the author
Miranda Kenneally writes and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. She is also the co-creator of the website You can visit her at or @mirandakennealy.

Purchase Things I Can't Forget at:



  1. Oh, Andrea. Your review is... wow. It sounds like you really connected with Kate, and I LOVED your review. Wonderful! ♥

    Also: OMG. Miranda's high school experience... what I wouldn't change, too. And I cna't believe the guidance counsellor said that! :O :O :O

  2. I know a lot of people had issues with Kate's character, but being able to connect with her more like you did, definitely gives you a better understanding of her character. Things I Can't Forget was a lot different from Miranda's previous, but I admire Miranda for taking this step and focusing on something hard. Miranda I agree with all your points but especially point 10! Thanks for sharing this great review and guest post with us Andrea! :)

  3. Fantastic review babe! I can't wait to read this!!!

  4. I have heard such amazing things about this series, but sadly I just have not gotten to them yet. So glad you enjoyed this one!

  5. I totally agree with you, I was really irritated with her in the beginning but as the story went on and her reasons for being the way she was came to light I started to feel really bad for her because it was all in how she was raised and was closing her eyes so much. I loved this story and Kenneally is just amazing! Fabulous review, so great that you could connect to this one so well.

  6. Great review Andrea!! You said it all perfectly. I didn't like Kate at first, but I did understand her. That's just who she is. You could really see her struggle to try and be more accepting of things too. Not being a religious person and usually running from books that have a lot of it in them, I really loved this book and am going to have to read the first 2 books ASAP. I wanted to read them before this, but was short on time.

    I also really love the guest post. I can't wait to read more of Miranda's books. She is a fantastic author.

  7. Thanks so much for the review! I'm happy to know you understood and related to the book on a personal level.
    Miranda Kenneally

  8. Great review. Awesome guest post. I'd like to start this series ASAP :)

  9. The journey of forgiveness and acceptance sounds great to me and I need to read this soon

  10. I want to read this! But I feel like I should read the others first, even if they are companion novels. :) Love the guest post...#6 and #10 would totally be on my list.

  11. I have yet to read anything by Miranda which is unfortunate, because everyone just adores her books. I love how you connected with Kate so much. I feel like this could be a very suitable story for me with all that character growth going on. What a lovely review:)

  12. Ditto about the homework :) LOVE this post. I think it's time for me to pick up Catching Jordan :0

  13. Oh Andrea, I can tell how much you felt about this one! :) I loved your rant there - I grew up in the Bible belt myself, so I can definitely relate to what you're saying and to what Kate was feeling...I lived it too. So thanks for sharing that and I can't wait to read this one. Loved, loved the quotes! Oh, and I loved Miranda's Top 10 - hmm, wonder what all I'd put on mine?!? ;)

  14. My family is Christian and I went to a Christian church growing up and a lot of the people were like Kate. Teens and parents. I think that’s why I had trouble connecting with Kate so much because she reminded me of those people. I even went to church camp once and while most of it was fun and innocent, there were also a lot of couples going out at night and doing stuff they weren’t supposed to. I love that Miranda isn’t afraid to tackle these tough subjects and even people who don’t like books about religion end up loving this book. I’m glad you liked this book and I really like this review.

  15. Need to get to this one. I love Catching Jordan but haven't read Stealing Parker yet. This one looks fab! Thanks for the review.

  16. Great review. I enjoyed this book. I think Miranda did an excellent job telling this story. I come from a religious background also, so I was familiar with all the the church "lingo." You can certainly see how Kate comes off as a little "over the top," with her beliefs to say the least. I liked Kate and didn't like her sometimes, but also felt really bad for her at others. I was really pleased to see the direction her character took as the story progressed and as she came to realize that it was okay if everyone didn't believe like she did. I know a lot of people who could benefit from that "revelation." Loved Matt, just loved him.

  17. I can't believe this series is already on book #3! I loved Catching Jordan and I have Stealing Parker on my Kindle. I must make time to read both. Great review!

    it's always interesting to me which characters people connect to. What may seem unrealistic to one reader is someone else's reality. I try to remember that these days. I tend to be too critical.

  18. Andrea!!! You really helped me to see Kate in a different light. I picked this up and then had to stop reading because I has another book coming up, but I never got back to it because of my thoughts on Kate. I like you was raised in a very strict religion and have always suffered with guilt and judgements. I think this is the reason I had such an aversion to Kate's character, but you've helped put her in a new light. I think I'll be picking this up again very soon. Brilliant review! :)

  19. Totally random...but when I first saw the cover, all I could think of was how hard it is to ride a bike like that. lol I'm not much of a YA reader, but it sounds like a sweet book.


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