I had my whole life mapped out. Perfect guy. Perfect friends. Everything was exactly the way I wanted it.
That was until that night--the one I can’t remember. It’s all my fault, and now the memories are all I have left of him. Of us.
My guilt drowns me until Sam Shea steps back into my life and helps me to the surface. He slowly opens my heart and crawls deep inside before I even realize what’s happening. I know I don’t deserve him.
While I’m trying to get used to my new life, pieces of that night slowly start to come back to me. Lies and secrets shatter everything I thought I knew.
Maybe I’m not the only one living with regret.
Review by Amanda
I have been a fan of this series from the moment I read the first chapter of Book 1 (When it Rains). Lisa de Jong writes books that not only enthrall and entice, but that will also rip your heart right out of your chest - and leave you wanting her to do it all over again.
This is book number 3 in the Rains series, and is the story of Rachel and Sam. A tale as old as time - two star crossed young people, whose romance almost seems fated, yet time and again things work against them. Initially when Sam and Rachel meet their friendship does not seem as though it should have longevity. She is 10 and he is 13 - but soon Sam takes on the role of protector and cherished friend. They spend their summers together in the cornfields and at the lake. Things change between them when Rachel starts high school and meets Cory Connors. Rachel is immediately smitten and as things heat up between Rachel and Cory, so the friendship between Sam and Rachel deteriorates. Soon all that is left of the friendship is a memory.
Rachel and Cory head off to College and soon things start changing. Cory thinks they should have a break from their relationship, but Rachel fights for them and convinces Cory that they shouldn't give up on one another. After finals are over Rachel and Cory head home looking forward to spending a blissful summer together - but this never happens.
The next thing Rachel is aware of is waking up in a hospital bed 17 days later. A car accident has wrecked and ruined her life - she cannot remember the events leading up to the accident and struggles to come to terms with the fact that Cory is no longer in her life.
Sam makes contact with Rachel, he wants to be there for her as she struggles to heal and wants to get their friendship back on track. He knows that Rachel has a long road of recover ahead of her, but with her best friend seemingly turning her back on her, Rachel is short of friends and can use someone in her corner.
The friendship helps Rachel to get stronger, but she is still plagued with questions about the day of the accident - some memories have started to return while other things remain infuriatingly just out of her reach. Rachel realises that Sam has feelings for her, but she feels guilty for being able to continue on with her life while Cory is no longer around.
Rachel agrees to give the fledgling relationship a chance - but warns Sam that he will need to be patient as she is still struggling with all that she has endured. Sam readily agrees, he has been waiting for Rachel his whole life and assures her that they can continue at "snails pace".
A chance outing on the back of Sam's bike results in more of Rachel's memory returning - and her discovering that Sam was around the night of the accident, and he could potentially be the reason for the fight between Rachel and Cory. Rachel is devastated that Sam has withheld the truth from her and warns him to stay away from her.
But is the truth that Rachel thinks she knows real or was Sam doing all he could to protect her from the ugliness of that night.
I enjoyed this book - there were parts of it that gripped me from the get go. I love how de Jong writes such complex and complicated figures, and gets all the teenage / young adult angst so perfectly spot on. You can feel the characters hearts breaking, almost as if it were your own.
I loved Sam - the boy from the wrong side of the tracks, who was too scared to hold out hope for ever being accepted. His dad was the town drunk and the people from the small town of Iowa where they hail from, have cast him as the town nobody. Sam works hard to make sure that he is nothing like his father, but his fear of rejection and failure are rooted deep. When things start going wrong, instead of jumping full steam ahead, he almost withdraws as if he has been expecting it. He is such a real, strong, character - you cannot help but love him.
Rachel went through so much turmoil, you almost never knew which way was up with her. I thought the character was incredibly real and tragic. She was full of angst, heartache, sorrow and depression. I found it really easy to relate to this character, and really enjoyed the spectrum of emotions that de Jong dragged out of her.
I am giving this book 4 stars, I really did enjoy reading it, but felt at times that the story dragged out. I wish that de Jong had done more with the Madison aspect, I felt that this was somewhat over looked and you literally went from A to Z in a space of a few pages, where really more could have been done with the character.
When it Rains (Book # 1) of this series, is still my best Ugly Cry book of the year, and I love that we get to experience the characters from the first book in this book too.
Meet the Author
Lisa De Jong is a wife, mother and full-time number cruncher who lives in the Midwest. Her writing journey involved insane amounts of coffee and many nights of very little sleep but she wouldn't change a thing. She also enjoys reading, football and music.
For more information about Lisa and her books follow her at: