Review: Like It Never Happened by Emily Adrian

I received this book for free from Purchased in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Like It Never Happened by Emily AdrianLike It Never Happened by Emily Adrian
Published by Dial BFYR on June 2, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Purchased
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four-stars

Stereotypes, sexuality, and destructive rumors collide in this smart YA novel for fans of Sara Zarr’s Story of a Girl, Siobhan Vivian’s The List, and E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.

When Rebecca Rivers lands the lead in her school’s production of The Crucible, she gets to change roles in real life, too. She casts off her old reputation, grows close with her four rowdy cast-mates, and kisses the extremely handsome Charlie Lamb onstage. Even Mr. McFadden, the play’s critical director, can find no fault with Rebecca.

Though “The Essential Five” vow never to date each other, Rebecca can’t help her feelings for Charlie, leaving her both conflicted and lovestruck. But the on and off-stage drama of the cast is eclipsed by a life-altering accusation that threatens to destroy everything…even if some of it is just make believe.

I’m not actually sure how I heard about Like It Never Happened. Maybe just when I found the cover to include in Cover Snark. Other than when I added it to my to-read list on GR, I really hadn’t heard anything about Like It Never Happened, making the title oddly appropriate. It’s not often that I read a YA novel coming out in a handful of days that no one I know has already reviewed. I found Like It Never Happened at Housing Works and decided to give it a shot. Let’s not let Like It Never Happened go unknown, guys, because Adrian’s debut was a really unexpected and different YA contemporary.

Though I haven’t read any of the books the blurb compares Like It Never Happened to (something that doesn’t happen to me too often), I suspect it’s pretty on point. Adrian’s debut tackles heavy issues, like rape, gossip, and student-teacher relationships, but does so with a sense of humor that keeps the book easily readable. That’s how I like my darker contemporaries; if they’re all dark, I really struggle.

What really makes Like It Never Happened stand out for me is that I really had no idea where the book was going at pretty much any point. I mean, it does open with a scene where a male teacher drives the heroine, Rebecca, home. Nothing happens, but the fact that the scene was included told me that it would be important later. Aside from that clue, I didn’t have any ideas. Even as the novel progressed, it wasn’t until I finished that I knew what the resolution would be. This is something that almost never happens in a contemporary, and it was a really nice change.

Rebecca’s narrative voice worked for me from the start. She didn’t pop into life the way my tippy top favorites do, but the voice was strong and engaging. Sometimes it can be frustrating watching teen characters making poor decisions, but I think this is one of those books where it really worked for me. Rebecca makes horrible romantic decisions, instaloves, and exercises poor judgment, but it all felt very authentic to her character and age.

I’m sort of at a loss for how to review this book, because one of the things I loved most was that I had to wait for the story to unfold. As such, I’m going to go into spoiler tags to discuss the resolution of a few things: View Spoiler »

Like It Never Happened does an excellent job dealing with the slut-shaming culture of high school. Rebecca herself has a bad reputation for having been caught wearing a leopard print thong in middle school. Stupid things like that can really haunt you if you spend your K-12 in the same school system, because everyone was there and remembers.

Also, I love the way that Adrian played the events of Like It Never Happened against the school play, Streetcar Named Desire. In general, I loved the theatrical elements, even if they did perform only stodgy classics. I’m a sucker for theater. The parallel with Streetcar enhanced the power of the book, and I absolutely adore the way Adrian used that to close the novel in the most perfect way.

If you like contemporaries that talk about issues with humor and don’t mind that they’re not romance heavy, I highly recommend Like It Never Happened. It looks like this one’s going to end up going under the radar, so let’s help a good book out!

Favorite Quote:

“Don’t let that asshole piss on your fire.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif tired of rumors starting lindsay lohan

2 responses to “Review: Like It Never Happened by Emily Adrian”

  1. I haven’t heard of this before until now, but it looks pretty cool. *off I go to Goodreads*
    Kristin @ Simply Bookish Things recently posted…May’s Monthly Rewind, Other Shenanigans and June’s TBR PileMy Profile

  2. I haven’t even heard of this book prior to your review! But now I want to read it ASAP. It seems my kind of book but then, you’re one of my trusted reviewers. Hee. I love books where I don’t know where it’s going and that RARELY happens with contemporary novels. So excited!
    Dianne @ Oops! I Read A Book Again recently posted…Review + Giveaway: More Happy Than Not by Adam SilveraMy Profile

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