“No. I’m just going to wonder how in the hell it’s possible that you never had a boyfriend in high school. You’re hot, Scarlet.”
I believe this quote sums up how utterly predictable this book was. Whereas the first book, The Year We Fell Downmanaged to sidestep several of the most common tropes in New Adult, The Year We Hid Away does not manage as well as the first. Instead, what The Year We Hid Away delivers is a common New Adult story, albeit much better written than most.
The story opens with our heroine, Scarlet, more or less fleeing her own house and running toward college, a place where she hopes no one will recognize her. After her father, a famous hockey icon, is accused of sexually assault on young hockey players, she wants nothing more than a place to figure things out. And she does find this at college. She also happens to meet Bridger, a guy who has his own troubles. But they get to know each other as they spend time studying together and soon find themselves willing to explore their relationship further.
The Year We Hid Away is, as mentioned, well written. Scarlet's relationship with her family is well portrayed, as well is and Bridger's situation with his own family. This isn't one of those New Adult stories where the character's situations are used as a backdrop for some forced sexual chemistry and a even more forced romantic plot. No, The Year We Hid Awaydoesn't shy away from dealing with the important issues at hand. Scarlet's character in particular was engaging to read about, how she tried to find footing again after everything she and her family have gone through. Well done, is all I can say. On the other hand, Bridger's character didn't quite generate the same feeling. When compared to Scarlet, Bridger somehow comes off as slightly underdeveloped as a character.
While this book does not put the characters' struggles in the background and the romance in the spotlight, the start of their relationship also doesn't feel quite genuine. There's never a moment when it's clear why they are drawn to each other, which makes it feel a bit rushed. Then, for a large part in the middle, the romance take up a big chunk of the plot, making the story uneven in its pacing. Given the supposed plot twists were easy to spot, that also slowed the pacing down a great deal. The story did pick up pace again somewhere around the 75% only to face a rushed ending with some resolutions a bit too convenient.
Overall though, The Year We Hid Away does hit the mark; Scarlet's confrontation with her family was one of those times. It's well written apart from some uneven pacing throughout. But overall, yes, a good read.