Oh my goodness, I just don’t even know how to express my emotions for this absolutely stunning and beautiful story. I felt like this was watching some of the people I grew up with, in our small town, fall in love and it’s a simply beautiful love to see in person too. I felt like this book captured that essence perfectly plus some. This is most definitely a top read for me and I happily and whole-heartedly give it 5 stars (even though it’s a 10 star read for me)!!
This book is about all of the moments and possible moments too and tells you just that when it starts out:
One moment can shape our entire life.
One deep breath.
One slow exhale.
The first time you feel soft grass on your bare feet.
The last time you fell in love.
One painted sunrise.
A note in a song.
One line in a poem.
Your first shot of whiskey.
One taste of forbidden love.
One word spoken too soon.
One word spoken too late.
Your first heartbreak.
One dance with a stranger.
One wayward memory.
One secret kept just a moment too long.
That’s all it takes.”
Of course, every love story has its first moments. I loved reading the internal dialogue with Rem because it was simple and funny and was everything all of us have ever thought when talking to our crushes.
“I can’t be sure what she’s sayin’, but I know what I’m sayin’. I’m sayin’: I like you; I think you might like me, at least a little; and I don’t want this conversation to end; and I, sure as hell, don’t want this night to end.”
Add in the small town charm too! This was a perfectly described small townism moment:
“That’s the beauty of livin’ out here. You’ll learn pretty quickly that things—and words—just get passed down. Around here, not many people question things. Now, as a kid, you might try to ask why. But not many people will give you a straight answer. And I don’t know if that’s just because they never knew the answer to begin with or if they just don’t want to tell ya or if they just plain forgot.”
And then there’s this absolutely profound moment between Ashley and Rem that just makes you cry:
“You know, Ashley Westcott,” he says, in a low, rasping voice. The way he says my name makes me take notice. “I realize there was probably a chance—before we ever met—that our paths were never gonna cross in this life.” He shrugs his shoulders a little. “You know, maybe it was some choice we made or didn’t make that caused a road to fork a different way or somethin’, and we missed each other by just an inch. We’d never know it, of course, and we’d go on livin’ our lives in blissful ignorance, never knowin’ what we missed out on. …I don’t know, maybe we’d each marry different people and have a couple kids. And maybe we’d grow old with the people we married.” He pauses and lowers his eyes before finding mine again. “But I know, if that were the case—if I never would have crossed paths with you—I never would have known love. Because as far as I’m concerned, there’s only one definition of it out there…and I’m convinced it’s lyin’ right here next to me.”
This was just so eloquently said and all I could wish for was a Rem in my life saying this to me!
Ashley is so mysterious through this entire book and you know she’s holding back with Rem. Rem is ever so patient and ever the gentleman through this story. Eventually, you learn more about Ashley and it’s not what you expect especially from someone so mysterious. Like all people though, both make some pretty significant errors in this story and you want to be angry with them but you’re also pulling for them so so much!
The defining moment between them was not quite what I expected it to be and brings the entire story full circle in an exquisite literary style.
I originally questioned how the storied rotated with past versus present chapters but not after all was said and done. There couldn’t have been a better way to write the story!
I also appreciate the story/plot of the book and it was not centered around sex like so many stories can be.
There is a ridiculously low number of books or movies that even make me tear up or become super sentimental. But this one did it and not simply but rather in a drawn out way that weaves its way into your heart and mind. It subtly draws you in through the beautiful, intriguing, defining, small moments and even through the guy convos and humor. It brings you to a home where hearts are and makes you a part of the community and makes you crave to stay there where life is simple, beautiful and worth every single moment.
“One moment. One moment can shape our entire life. One moment; that’s all it takes. But the thing is, that’s not the whole story. The whole story is a little more complicated than that. For what really shapes our lives is more like a series of moments—one on top of the other. Like, it’s not just one sunrise that shapes us, but all the nights before it. Just like it’s not one cut to the heart that tears us apart, but all the memories that preceded it. It’s a look on top of a thought, on top of a word, on top of a smile. It’s a heart-pounding question, after a silent prayer. It’s a slow dance, in the midst of a storm. It’s a chance taken, even before you’re given it. It’s a strange weave of tears and sweat and laughter. It’s called life. It’s about love. And sometimes, it’s painful. But every time, it’s worth it.”