Book Review: The Year We Hid Away

The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years #2) by Sarina Bowen: She’s hiding something big. He’s hiding someone small.

Scarlet Crowley’s life was torn apart the day father was arrested for unspeakable crimes. Now the shock has worn off, but not the horror.

It’s a safe bet that Scarlet is the only first year at Harkness College who had to sneak past TV news trucks parked on her front lawn just to leave town. But college will be Scarlet’s fresh start. Clutching a shiny new student ID — with a newly minted name on it — she leaves it all behind. Even if it means lying to the boy she’s falling for.

Bridger McCaulley is a varsity hockey star known for being a player both on and off the ice. But a sobering family crisis takes that all away. Protecting his sister means a precarious living arrangement and constant deception. The only bright spot in his week is the few stolen hours he spends with Scarlet.

The two form a tentative relationship based on the understanding that some things must always be held back. But when grim developments threaten them both, going it alone just won’t work anymore. And if they can’t learn to trust one another now, the families who let them down will take everything they’ve struggled to keep.

The Year We Hid Away provides the second installment to the Ivy Years Series focusing on Hartley’s friend Bridger and a new character Scarlet. This story gives us another new adult title by Ms. Bowen that lends itself to being completely fresh and unique yet following new adult structure perfectly. The crafting of this plot weaves in two completely different back stories for Bridger and Scarlet – each hiding something major in their lives. Again, just as in the first book, I’ve yet to read a plot base like this and again Ms. Bowen flawlessly made me a believer in her work. The writing is so precise and clean that we never get caught up in meaningless points.

Whereas the heroine was the shining star in book one, the hero is my shining star in book two. If you’ve read book one you undoubtedly have an idea about Bridger in your mind. I had a couple of ideas. Well he blows expectations out of the water. He’s strong, solid, confident, vulnerable, loyal, and mature with so much love to give it surrounds him like an aura. I refuse to give anything away about the plot but you will fall in love with Bridger.

Scarlet’s story being so unique drew me to her. The questions just her back story raised I found titillating, really thinking about the impact of her situation and the devastation it left on her life and her views of her family. Scarlet’s strength fortifies her as a great heroine. She doesn’t dwell, she doesn’t complain but she’s hidden behind a wall of fear. There were a couple points in her story that I had wished were developed a bit further but overall this is a great heroine.

Sarina Bowen writes fast moving plots with engaging characters laced with a just a bit of mystery. The love story of Bridger and Scarlet is so simple compared to the complicated lives they lead outside of each other. The difficulties bind them to each other, developing a trust you’ll envy. For young love, these two have got it together – testament to lives they know with absolute certainty they don’t want. I’m happy I’ve had the opportunity to read these new adult books. Coming off a contemporary darker romance they just slayed me, it was nice to sit down with easy, uplifting love stories.

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Lori L. Clark

She Reads New Adult Admin: Lori L. Clark

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