Before: Dara and Aubrey have been inseparable since they became best friends in sixth grade. Dara is the fearless one, Aubrey the prodigy, yet despite their differences they support each other unconditionally. However, as they begin their sophomore year of high school, cracks in their friendship begin to form, testing the bond they always thought was unbreakable.
After: It’s been fifteen months since the accident that killed Aubrey, and not a day goes by that Dara isn’t racked with guilt over her role in her best friend’s death. Now, after spending a year away from home in order to escape the constant reminders of what happened, Dara is back at her old high school to start her senior year. Dara thought the worst thing about coming home would be confronting the memories of Aubrey that relentlessly haunt her, but she soon realizes it’s not half as difficult as seeing Ethan, Aubrey’s brother, every day. Not just because he’s a walking reminder of what she did, but because the more her feelings for him change, the more she knows she’s betraying her best friend one final time.
These Things I’ve Done is an amazing story about friendship, love, and grief. After Dara accidentally kills her best friend, Aubrey, Dara’s life is changed forever. Moving away after the accident during her sophomore year, Dara is back to finish out her Senior year back in the town filled with memories of Aubrey. Going back to school is a challenge, but the greatest challenge of all is seeing Ethan, Aubrey’s younger brother. Thinking Ethan hates her, Dara returns to school not expecting him to talk to her, but instead he befriends her. They slowly become friends and learn to live again without Aubrey.
Wow, wow, wow. I just loved everything about this book. The accident that killed Aubrey was tragic. Dara is filled with guilt and has a hard time adjusting to life without Aubrey. What I appreciated the most about this story is that it was realistic. Her character did things that I would expect from someone who accidentally caused her best friend’s death. Same goes for Ethan; he was also very realistic and reacted just the way I thought he should. And I loved him. He was such an amazing and loving person, especially towards Dara.
I loved the way Dara and Ethan’s relationship developed. It started out slowly and it progressed naturally over time. I just really appreciated the fact that it wasn’t rushed and it seemed to come naturally. Their relationship wasn’t perfect; they had huge hurdles to overcome and I enjoyed reading about how they were able to form a bond after such a tragic incident and find love and joy in life again. It was so beautiful to see.
This book is so much more than your typical contemporary romance. It deals with death, guilt, loss, love, and hope. The way this story was written was heart-wrenching, but it also made me so happy. Ethan and Dara were able to find the light again after the darkness. I am just filled with so many emotions after reading this book. It truly is magnificent and I recommend it to everyone. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars!
Thank you to Eric Smith and Rebecca Phillips for sending this book to me in return for an honest review.