I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my opinion of the book.
Anxiety rules Sadie's life. She is a slave to the pills that she is supposed to take once a day, but many days she end up swallowing three or more and the panic still haunts her.
Aaron does what the pills cannot--make her feel normal, even though he is far from normal himself. Sadie has anxiety issues, but Aaron cannot even remember his problems due to a memory disorder.
Summer is in full swing and Aaron and Sadie have everything planned out, until Sadie's grandmother gives her own plan. This summer, Sadie is supposed to do normal things, like get a job, volunteer, and most importantly, hang out with normal people who can actually remember what they had for breakfast that morning.
Following her grandmother's regimen keeps Sadie away from Aaron, but she does not have to stay away during her dreams when she visits Isola Fiona. There, Sadie does not have anxiety and Aaron can remember everything with perfect accuracy. At first, it is just a silly dream, but there may be more to Fiona Isola than Sadie really thought.
Somewhere Only We Know is a great story on the surface, but there were underlying problems and an ending that disappointed me.
First, the main characters were realistic, bold, and cute.
I watched Sadie struggle with her anxiety and eventually overcome it. She is a new kind of hero. In most YA, the hero is the person with the special powers, the one who discovers they have special powers, or something else like that. For better or for worse, Sadie does not have magical powers of any kind (I promise), but she is still a hero to me.
She started the novel with crippling anxiety that prevented her from doing the simplest things in life, like get a summer job or make new friends. As the story progresses, she turns into a confident young women.
Aaron was also an interesting character. I like how his mental disabilities were highlighted in the book and not ignored. He obviously struggled to live with his memory issues, but nothing stopped him from wanting to live a normal life.
Together, Sadie and Aaron were the cutest pair of best friends that I have read about in a while. Their relationship is so fluffy, loving, and just gosh darn adorable that I had no choice but to love them.
Overall, I loved how mental illness was treated in this book. The main characters struggled with it, but it was most the only focus of their personalities.
I also really enjoyed the secondary characters. There was a variety of different people who made up the cast of this book, but none of them really had the spotlight as long as I would have wanted, which is my main issue with this book.
Nothing was really ever delved into except for the romance and anxiety parts of the plot.
For example, there was a big deal in the beginning of the novel about Sadie's mother committing suicide, but after the first couple of pages it was kind of forgotten about. I want to know how that affected Sadie and her family and just her life in general. I wish I knew more about Sadie's life before the novel. The contrast between her life before anxiety and the transition into the life of torture would have been heartbreakingly awesome.
I also wanted to know more about Isola Fiona and the people that lived there. The questions of why and how were never really answered beyond the fact that the guy that created it was an "alchemist." That revelation was treated like it was completely normal and did not warrant any further explanation.
I just wish that I knew a lot more about the world and the characters in this novel, which is good and bad.
On the good side, Young creates a captivating world that I would love to know more about. She made me care about the characters and wonder more about their lives. On the other hand, a lot was left unanswered and buried underneath the romance.
Overall, Somewhere Only We Know is a great representation of mental illness and a relationship between two best friends. The plot is a little bit thin and the resolution is not as complete as I would have liked, but it was a pretty good fluffy read.
I give Somewhere Only We Know by Cheyanne Young 3 stars.
This review and many other cool posts are on my original blog, Crazy for YA.