The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen — Jenn’s Review

the year we hid away


LOVED the first book in the series!


5 stars


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.

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I LOVED The Year We Fell Down (See Jenn’s review here)  and had just finished reading it when I found out that Bridger was getting his own story!! Bridger always provided us with a little comic relief during Adam and Corey’s book and I couldn’t wait to get more of him. You knew that there was a tragic back story to his life and I was curious to see where it led us.

Not only did we get Bridger, but we also got Scarlet’s story as well. I am not sure it’s possible to find two characters with more baggage and drama between them. It would be hard to argue who had it worse. Luckily, for the reader AND for Bridger and Scarlet, they found each other quickly. What started out as a friendship, grew rather quickly into more. But Bridger, who was juggling more balls than limbs, didn’t have the time to devote to a relationship with Scarlet, and while he was “secretive” about what he had going on, Scarlet, had secrets of her own. There is a lot going on in this story and I do not want to give any of the plot away. The blurb is all you’ll need. J

There was a lot to love about this book. The writing flowed beautifully. Scarlet and Bridger had horrible events going on in their personal lives, but they were both happy, well adjusted people. I found The Year We Hid Away to be more plot driven than the first installment. The subject matter was difficult and needed a soft hand to guide it. Sarina did just that. The story is based on secrets that both Bridger and Scarlet are hiding from the rest of the world, but as the reader, we knew what those secrets were, and in a short time, so did Scarlet and Bridger. It didn’t take them until 80% of the book to share with each other.  We didn’t have to spend our time trying to figure out the story, we knew it, and it made the journey all the more enjoyable. We were able to be fully involved in Bridger and Scarlet as they made the decisions that would guide not only their lives, but the lives of those they loved. It gave them the opportunity to work out their problems together. In the end, it made them stronger characters throughout the story.  Sarina writes strong, resilient, female leads. Just like with Corey in The Year We Fell Down, Scarlet is not afraid to speak her mind. She isn’t afraid that Bridger won’t like her, or find her attractive. She says what needs to be said and fights for herself. I found myself cheering out loud for her.

I could not tear my eyes away from this story and soaked it up in one sitting. You will find yourself doing the same. This is another beautiful, compelling, captivating story for Sarnia Bowen, and I cannot wait to see what she has for us next!

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