I have a LOT of mixed feelings about this. On one hand, the romance was sweet, and I was glad to see Parker back! On the other, Kate was SUCH a judge mental hypocrite, and I wanted to stab her, repeatedly. So, there's that. Full review coming once I vent in draft form, then find a way to make sense of my thoughts.
I finished Things I Can't Forget last night, and I need to vent in order to get some things off my chest before I can actually begin to form my words and thoughts into a coherent review. Although normally I look forward to Miranda's books - I loved both Catching Jordan, and Stealing Parker, and even pre-ordered Things I Can't Forget, it's a total departure in some ways from her other books. Whereas before, both girls although they had their issues, Jordan and Parker were still both relatable, and lovable, in that even when they messed up, you (or at least I) wanted to buy them some chocolate and let them know it would be okay in the end, becuase you GOT them. They were those "everyman" characters, which really surprised me, because I wasn't sure I would identify with either of them, but I did - especially Parker.
Now we have Kate. I'm going to have to get on my soapbox for a minute or two here, so y'all may want to check back once I run out of steam, becuase this is gonna be honest, and not flattering or sugar coated. I don't relish these types of reviews, but the fact is, anything less wouldn't be honest. So behind the spoiler tag, there's rage. There's some cursing. Every time I tried to dial it back, I got mad all over again, so it stays. Kate is a prudish, judgemental, panties-twisted-in-her-ass bitch. Kate is one of THOSE characters. Y'all know the kind. You want to push them off a cliff. You start hoping they'll choke on a waffle and die. Try as you might, you can't get behind them all the way.
Now look, I don't have a beef with religion. I pray, and I believe. I've gone to church, and ultimately decided it wasn't for me. I read the Bible sometimes, so although I am NO expert by any means on religion, I also have a foundation for it, and I respect it. I try to behave with kindness toward others, and I'm pretty darn tolerant of other religions and viewpoints, and opinions. But I can't STAND a judgemental hypocrit, and Kate is both of those things.
I get that her world view was small. And the book was about it widening. But oh my gosh. In the meantime, until we GOT to that? I wanted to choke the life out of her.
I was okay with the religion in Stealing Parker, because it MADE SENSE, and because it wasn't preach-y. I don't know about y'all, but when I feel like something - anything - is being shoved in my face, my natural response is to back away from it. It's why I won't read some over-hyped series *coughs* Mortal Instruments *coughs*. And I'm the same way with things I don't believe in. Religion is kinda touchy for me. Like I said, I believe, and I totally respect other's beliefs. But I DON'T want it rammed down my throat. And that's what Kate took every opportunity to do - reminding everyone they were sinning, and basically coming off as if she was so much better than everyone.
She shames EVERYONE at her summer camp for something - whether it's for being in a frat, having THE SEX, going to partys, or enjoying an occasional drink. Whatever the flaw, she finds one in everyone, usually shortly after meeting them. It's almost like she WANTS to find people's sins. Oh gosh. At first I thought I'd really like Kate, but after 75 pages of her ranting about what a sinner she is, and casting stones at others ONLY TO DO THE SAME THINGS, I knew that although I felt for her, and WANTED to like her, I'd never REALLY "love" her as a character.
That's right, ladies and gents. After bitching people out for hooking up, KATE DOES IT. She hooks up with Matt, and granted, they start dating and agree to be in a relationship, but this girl goes and PRAYS to God asking "please let me keep my hands off of him," then fools around with him - does everything but has sex. I wanted to slap her! Either have sex and do it right - condom and birth control - or DON'T, but damn, girl, stand for something! Her morals and convictions were SO important to her, but she threw them away easily enough when she was with Matt - she wavered back and forth and not being able to share a bed with him, but then the minute she was alone with him in her house, she stripped down and both gave and received oral sex. Those convictions? Yeah, nowhere to be found. They had their times together where she did everything BUT sex, but then SHE SHAMED HIM and made him feel guilty for what they'd done.
Look, I've been in a few relationships, and I GET wanting to wait. (I also get not being ABLE to wait.) It is difficult, especially when you're attracted to someone. But sending mixed signals isn't okay! It's also not fair to your boyfriend/girlfriend, OR to yourself. Make your decision and stick by it. I HATED Kate for how she treated Matt - she'd set boundaries, then go back on them, then shame him and make him feel guilty for what SHE okay'ed and let happen. I am NOT OKAY with that.
Okay, I feel like I can breathe again now that I got some of that off my chest. Now, OTHER than Kate's character, I really DID like Things I Can't Forget. The characters are all wonderfully fleshed out, and they feel real, which is one of Miranda's strong suits. It was wonderful to see Parker again, and some other favorites, like Will, Sam, etc.
I also did like that we got to see various characters grow. We DO see Kate change some, as well as Parker start to take a chance and open up, which was awesome. Even some of the minor characters change over the summer, and I can't say how much I liked that! Character growth = I'm sold.
Overall, despite some huge issues I had with Things I Can't Forget, Miranda is still one of my favorite authors, because she writes very realistic characters, relationships, and situations. I would advise longtime fans of her books to give this one a try, though be prepared for a huge departure from her previous two books. I'm not sure what happened here, but in Racing Savannah, her next, I hope to see a return to form for Miranda. If not, I doubt I'll read her future books, because I have such incredibly mixed feelings on Things I Can't Forget. It's been a few weeks since I finished this book (at the time of writing this review) and I'm STILL mad about this book.
Bottom line? If you read this one, proceed with caution.