The End of Our Story – Meg Haston – HarperTeen – Published 4 April 2017
Bridge and Wil have been entangled in each other’s lives for years. Under the white-hot Florida sun, they went from kids daring each other to swim past the breakers to teenagers stealing kisses between classes. But when Bridge betrayed Wil during their junior year, she shattered his heart and their relationship along with it.
Then Wil’s family suffers a violent loss, and Bridge rushes back to Wil’s side. As they struggle to heal old wounds and start falling for each other all over again, Bridge and Wil discover just how much has changed in the past year. As the fierce current of tragedy threatens to pull them under, they must learn how to swim on their own—or risk drowning together.
The End Of Our Story is a powerful and heartbreaking story of family secrets and relationship breakdown.
I thought The End Of Our Story would be about a traumatic romance. A big break up, getting back together, breaking up again and then maybe, finally sorting out the issues and getting back together again. But the romance in The End Of Our Story is really just a backdrop for the story of family breakdown and social issues. What happens to you when your world shatters and the people you love aren’t who you thought they were?
I was surprised by the turn The End of Our Story took. I liked that it was about more than romance. Family, family breakdown, choosing who you want to be, actions defining who someone is, and doing the ‘right’ thing are all important themes.
Bridge and Wil have been friends since childhood. Love soon followed, but in their second-last year of high school their relationship shattered. A year on, following family tragedy, Bridge knows she needs to be there for Wil, while Wil is still reeling from the events of the previous year.
The book is written in alternating chapters from the perspective of the two main character but from different times. Bridge narrates the current time period, their last year of high school, and Wil narrates from the year previous. From the start of the book, the reader knows that something happened between Bridge and Wil to destroy both their childhood friendship and teenage romance. But the reader isn’t left in suspense for too long before the details of what happened are revealed. I liked that the story of their breakup was revealed early on rather than building suspense to a reveal that could have felt anti-climactic. But Wil and Bridge’s relationship drama is really only a backdrop to Wil’s family story, which is fleshed out through his chapters. Bridge discovers these family secrets for the first time as she reconnects with Wil in their senior year in the wake of Wil’s family tragedy. The big question is what happened on that night that changed everything for Wil. Bridge wants to ask him but doesn’t want to scare him away. You can see I am writing this review almost in code as I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I think it is fair to say this book is much less about romance than it is self-reflection, family breakdown and (I’ll put this in spoiler tags just in case) [Spoiler: domestic violence] – hugely important topics that need to be discussed. Do our parents make us who we are, do we make our own choices, do their choices define us?
Some readers might think the ending is too open, ‘what happens next?’ they might ask. But I liked the ending. I thought there was just enough detail to create a conclusion but enough space for so many possibilities – because life is never what we expect.
The End Of Our Story is about love and family and loving someone so much that you want to take all their troubles and hurts away when really, the only thing you can do is be there for them.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Social issues, family, family breakdown, domestic violence, relationships, dating, emotions.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Frequent coarse language, f***, sh**, mo****f*****. Violence, descriptions of domestic violence, injury and death.
Published: 4 April 2017 by HarperTeen.
Format: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook. 288 pages.