I received this book for free from the TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Say You'll Remember Me by Katie McGarry
Published by HarlequinTEEN on January 30, 2018
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Source: TLC Book Tours
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Doesn’t matter who did it. Not anymore. I did the time. It’s over.”
When Drix was convicted of a crime—one he didn’t commit—he thought his life was over. But opportunity came with the Second Chance Program, the governor’s newest pet project to get delinquents off the streets, rehabilitated and back into society. Drix knows this is his chance to get his life back on track, even if it means being paraded in front of reporters for a while.
Elle knows she lives a life of privilege. As the governor’s daughter, she can open doors with her name alone. But the expectations and pressure to be someone she isn’t may be too much to handle. She wants to follow her own path, whatever that means.
When Drix and Elle meet, their connection is immediate, but so are their problems. Drix is not the type of boy Elle’s parents have in mind for her, and Elle is not the kind of girl who can understand Drix’s messy life.
But sometimes love can breach all barriers.
Fighting against a society that can’t imagine them together, Drix and Elle must push themselves—Drix to confront the truth of the robbery, and Elle to assert her independence—and each other to finally get what they deserve.
I’ve loved Katie McGarry’s writing from the very beginning. After reading an advanced reader’s copy of Pushing the Limits way back in 2012 (You can check out the Bookworms’ review of that first book here.), I was sucked in by Katie’s writing and devoured the book in one day. Her books are so full of emotion, love, and angst while being realistic and hopeful. Since any of her novels are an automatic pre-order for me, I’ve been waiting since last July to get my hands on this book. My hard cover came in the mail this week, and the cover is absolutely gorgeous. Now I have a pristine copy on my bookshelf since I read an e-ARC, and I fell in love with her characters all over again.
Drix is fresh out of a new program put together by the governor to rehabilitate incarcerated teens without years of jail time. After confessing to the armed robbery of a convenience store, he takes a plea deal that places him in this Second Chance Program where he and several other teens live in the woods, camp, and receive therapy for three months before being released back into society with sealed court records. He then finds out that he’s been picked as the poster boy for this treatment plan, and he becomes their shining example of how successful it is. His first public appearance is at the state fair. Little did he know that his world would change playing Whack-A-Mole with a beautiful blonde stranger.
Elle is tired of being in the spotlight as the daughter of the governor. She’s constantly attending events to help her father, especially now that he’s making a bid for a Senate seat. She’s trapped in a cycle of being squeaky clean, made up, and dressed in designer clothing while doing her parents’ bidding, so she slips away from the family friend that’s supposed to accompany her in public. Alone, she feels like she can finally be herself without the pressure to perform, to be someone that is exhausting to play. Then she meets Drix at the fair, and the attraction is mutual. He saves her from a few guys that were hassling her, and they part ways thinking that they will never see each other again. But her knight in shining armor shows up at her father’s speech in the assembly hall, and she realizes that this caring, protective, very attractive guy is her father’s dancing monkey–and a convicted criminal.
Drix is loyal, honest, and driven to make something out of himself now that he’s a free man. But he soon realizes that he’s not free–he’s beholden to a governor that will do anything it takes to prove that his Second Chance Program is a success. Elle has been told to stay away from Drix, but their connection and attraction can’t be denied and they start to date in secret–but for how long? Elle is optimistic and expects the best out of those that she loves. She wants to be free to pursue her loves: animals and helping people, and she doesn’t get the opportunity to put down her guard when surrounded by her father’s staff or even her parents. With Drix, she can put her hair up in a messy bun and wear glasses, but to the outside world and media, she must be the picture of perfection.
While everyone thinks that Elle’s life is easy and perfect, it’s not good to be under the thumbs of your parents. She group up with money and all that came with it, but Drix had a completely different upbringing and has barely scraped by in poverty. Drix lives with his older brother and younger sister, and their house is in a low wealth neighborhood. At first he sees everything the governor asks him to do as a clean slate, to make something of himself by pursuing music at a performing arts high school. The governor’s help might have been promised, but the most support he gets is from Elle, and he’s not willing to let that go easily.
Drix and Elle’s lives look like polar opposites in most aspects, but they both struggle with finding out who they really are. They both know their roles and responsibilities in this world, and together they work towards finding a happy medium that they can live with. But while Drix was willing to go to jail for a crime he didn’t commit to save someone he loves from doing the time, there’s only so much he can take while people don’t see him as anything more than a criminal. Helping them along the way are Drix’s family and friends, and these side characters really shine when they’re on the page.
I give SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME a five out of five. Drix and Elle were so great together, and it felt like they were real, fully-formed people that you could meet in reality. I felt suffocated and trapped right along with them both, and their lows hurt my heart while it soared in their times of happiness. That’s why I love Katie McGarry books, and I’ve come to expect such deep emotions from her writing. Say You’ll Remember Me is a great example of how to write young adult fiction and forbidden love, and it has definitely set the bar high for contemporary young adult romance. I can also add this book to the short list of books that have made me cry on the train during my commute. I really did not want Drix and Elle’s story to end, and I hope to someday read more about them in the future.
Find SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME
About Katie McGarry
Katie was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.
She is the author of the Pushing the Limits and Thunder Road series. Say You’ll Remember Me will be released in 2018.
Katie loves to hear from her readers.
Connect with Katie McGarry
Katie McGarry’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME:
Tuesday, January 2nd: Romantic Reads and Such
Wednesday, January 3rd: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, January 4th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Friday, January 5th: Books a la Mode
Monday, January 8th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, January 9th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Wednesday, January 10th: Reading Reality
Thursday, January 11th: The Sassy Bookster
Friday, January 12th: OMG Reads
Saturday, January 13th: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Monday, January 15th: Suzy Approved
Tuesday, January 16th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Wednesday, January 17th: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Thursday, January 18th: Books & Spoons
Friday, January 19th: Moonlight Rendezvous
Monday, January 22nd: Reading Reality
Tuesday, January 23rd: Books and Bindings
Tuesday, January 23rd: Chick Lit Central
Wednesday, January 24th: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Thursday, January 25th: From the TBR Pile
Friday, January 26th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, January 29th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, January 30th: Moonlight Rendezvous
Wednesday, January 31st: OMG Reads
Monday, February 5th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Friday, February 9th: Not in Jersey
Monday, February 12th: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Tuesday, February 13th: Book Mama Blog
Wednesday, February 14th: Deborah Blanchard
Friday, February 16th: Book Nerd
Monday, February 19th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Wednesday, February 21st: Why Girls Are Weird
Thursday, February 22nd: Thoughts on This ‘n That