Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.
Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.
With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.
While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.
Synopsis source: Goodreads
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…everything in my life has felt like it’s edged in sharp corners, and I’ve been tiptoeing around this world in the dark …trying not to injure myself.
When my co-host for our August BW+S Book Club, Ruthie of Teal Dragonfly Creations, suggested this book to read, I have to say that I had my doubts. Don’t get me wrong, I’d read It Ends with Us and Hopeless, and they shredded me, they were so emotional and raw. I also read Slammed but against popular opinion, I didn’t like it that much. I had nothing but good feelings toward Hoover going into reading this book, but I also had reservations because no matter how much I loved those other stories, I read them a long time ago. I was much younger when I read them, and while her books are emotional and powerful, they are, fundamentally, angsty.
Sometimes when we’re alone, he looks at me in a way that makes me feel empty when he looks away.
I worried that I had personally moved beyond any preference for angsty books. I can’t tell you the last YA I’ve read. So, I was concerned that it would be the same stuff and an older me and we just wouldn’t mesh. But this book, while an angsty romance, has motherhood and parent-child relationships at its core, and that was enough to draw me in.
What I forgot about Colleen Hoover’s books is her WIT. So many times, I laughed out loud at the sarcastic and witty repartee between the characters, and after reading so many more serious books lately, the ability for a book to make me laugh, even in as serious of a setting as we have in Regretting You is a plus in my book.
Shit. I’ve been paying attention to his hair? I feel I’ve subconsciously betrayed myself.
Even aside from her wit, Hoover has an innate ability to draw characters so complex that they almost physically come off the page. I could easily envision the settings/scenes and the facial expressions, mannerisms and emotions of the characters. On one hand, I found myself understanding Morgan’s motivations to protect Clara from the truth, but on the other hand, I understood Clara’s anger and impotence at the new circumstances she has found herself in.
One thing I really liked about these characters is how perfectly flawed they were. All too often in YA we are given characters that act mature beyond their years, but that’s not the norm, and it is refreshing to see Clara make mistakes and learn from them, to learn to think beyond just herself as is typical of teenagers and come at things from other’s points of view. Her moment of enlightenment at the end and the compassion she felt for her mother in that moment exhibited how much she’d grown as a character and it was beautiful to see. As a mother on the cusp of being parent to a teenager, it gives me hope.
Sometimes you have to walk away from the fight in order to win it.
Already a pretty straight-laced teen when we meet her, after becoming pregnant so young, Morgan becomes an even stricter parent, a trait that goes into overdrive with the death of her husband. The stronger she tries to hold onto Clara, the more Clara pulls away and acts out.
Morgan had quite a bit of growth throughout the book as well. I liked her a lot. She was loyal, kind and loving. Having put her life on hold to be a mother – social commentary encouraged here – it’s almost like EVERYthing stalled for her in that moment, including the feelings she may and may not have been experiencing for certain guys in her life at the time. I think the feelings she experiences in trying to decide what she wants to do with her life now that Clara is all but out of the house is a feeling that many mothers can relate to.
I think it’s time I figure out who I was meant to become before I started living my life for everyone else.
What I didn’t care for was the feeling we are left with at the end of the book in regards to Morgan’s life situation. It felt to me like everything changed, but nothing changed. If you want to know what I mean by that (spoilers) you’ll want to tune in for Books, WIPs, + Sips Book Club this month, read below or see the pink box above for details.
Still, there were so many great messages about forgiveness in this book and coming to terms with the dark side of someone whom we’ve previously only ever witnessed the light side. Hoover certainly has a way with words that can be both profound and completely real at the same time.
Your father made some big mistakes, but the things he did wrong in his life shouldn’t discredit all the things he did right.
If you are a mom or a teen, there’s something for you in this book, even if you’re anti-angst like me. While there was a fair amount of eye rolling at some of it, I have to admit that this was a compulsive read and I consumed it in two late nights, burning the lights until the wee hours.
I hope you’ll join me for Books, WIPs, + Sips Book Club on Instagram Stories Live this coming Tuesday, August 31st at 7pm CST to discuss this book! Join me and my guest host, Ruthie of Teal Dragonfly Creations as we sip some bevies, work on a project, and dish on this book. I hope to see you there!
***Update! If you missed the live, you can catch the replay below!***
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