*Full disclosure: I was the editor of this novel for 48fourteen Publishing.
The Songs We Remember is the heart-rending yet lovely sequel to The Songs in Our Hearts by Chantal Gadoury. In the next installment of this contemporary YA love story, we return to our lovably conscientious heroine, Charlie, and her now-boyfriend, the charmingly laid-back Micah. In many ways, though opposites, Charlie and Micah are an ordinary high school couple. They navigate the everyday pressures and decisions of teens who date, like whether to be intimate or stay chaste, when to say “I love you,” and how to act as an item around friends and family. In the same way that the first book celebrates and evokes autumn, the sequel brings the winter and holiday season to life, and all the romantic trappings that go along with it.
But then unexpected tragedy hits. Blindsided by loss, Charlie withdraws – from everyone and everything. Though Micah tries, not even the boy she loves and the music they shared can mend her grief-shattered heart. These parts of the book had me blubbering like an infant (you will need a box of tissues. But it will be worth it). And yet, slowly but surely, loyal and devoted Micah and their friends gently coax Charlie out of her mourning and into a sobering but new normal. It isn’t easy, and nothing will ever be the same for Charlie again. But with time and patience, Charlie and Micah will learn that the music – even if just the memory of it – plays on.
I unequivocally adored this book. It is currently my favorite YA contemporary romance. Gadoury’s stunning strength and growth as a writer has been among the most beautiful and inspiring things to witness in my career. She writes authentically with grace and poignancy, as well as delightful humor and affection that make her characters pop right off the pages. Even when the book is sad, it is also full of hope and laughter. Gadoury is one of those YA authors that reminds you of the goodness and light that’s still out there in the world, and who’ll make you laugh and cry simultaneously. I recommend this duet to fans of YA contemporary romances like Anna and the French Kiss, What Happened to Goodbye, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and The Fault in Our Stars.