Review: IN HER WAKE by K.A. Tucker

IN HER WAKE (Ten Tiny Breaths 0.5)
by K.A. Tucker
Release Date: September 1, 2014
Publisher: Atria books 
Source: Net Galley
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Before you knew him as Trent in Ten Tiny Breaths, he was Cole Reynolds—and he had it all. Until one night when he makes a fatal, wrong decision…and loses everything.

When a drunken night out at a Michigan State college party results in the death of six people, Cole must come to terms with his part in the tragedy. Normally, he’d be able to lean on his best friends—the ones who have been in his life since he could barely walk. Only, they’re gone. Worse, there’s the shattered body of a sixteen-year-old girl lying somewhere in a hospital bed, her entire life ripped from her because of a case of beer and a set of keys.

Everyone assures him that they know it wasn’t intentional, and yet he can’t ignore the weight of their gazes, the whispers behind his back. Nor can he shake the all-consuming guilt he feels every time he thinks of that girl who won’t so much as allow him near her hospital room to apologize. As the months go by and the shame and loneliness festers, Cole begins to lose his grip on what once was important—college, his girlfriend, his future. His life. It’s not until Cole hits rock-bottom that he can begin to see another way out of his personal hell: forgiveness.

And there’s only one person who can give that to him…

My Thoughts: 

I recently began reading New Adults books and K.A. Tucker's novels were my introduction reads into this genre.  I can never explain why I resisted this genre of books for so long but I now know that I'm kicking myself for all kinds of foolishness and one of the main reasons is the Ten Tiny Breath's series. I picked up Ten Tiny Breath's shortly after meeting Kathleen and became an instant fan. Her writing was honest, raw and filled with such emotions that I instantly gravitate towards her stories and cannot seem to let go until the very end.

For those of us who have read Ten Tiny Breath's and experienced Kasey's story and the heartbreak and self destruction that was her existence after her accident know that it was not an easy thing to witness. The very idea of losing your entire family, to have it ripped away from you by such a way would have been more than most of us would be able to withstand. Then we see things in her life change once she and her sister Livie decide to change destiny at their own hands. Kasey still has a long road before her buy the one bright spot in her dark story is Trent, the enigmatic neighbor that seems to know her secrets and wants to give her everything she needs, but Trent also had a secret that once revealed changed everything.

In Her Wake is his story, his guilt, his pain, his path to forgiveness and it is a heartbreaking thing to witness. 

This novella begins innocently enough with Cole enjoying a party with friends, school is almost finished and his only worries are a few finals. Tomorrow morning he would sit down and study but now he wants to have fun, drink a few beers, what would it matter? 

"Hi my name Is Tara. I'm a Paramedic. Can you hear me? You were in an accident. We're going to help you."

Those words brings Cole back to a reality that he would rather escape from. His whole world as he knew it is forever altered and he has no where to hide from the fact that his actions caused his childhood friends to die and render a teenage girl an orphan. Over the Summer he tries to recover, to return to his former life, but no matter what he does he cannot escape the knowledge of what has happened and his sadness and guilt overtake him and slowly change him and the person that emerges through the other side is Trent and my heart aches for him and his journey for peace.

The reality of Cole's story is tackled head on without flinching, it is this no holds barred reflection that makes K.A. Tucker such an amazing author. The depths of guilt and sadness that were explored were so overwhelming that at times I would have to stop reading and let the feelings work their way through me. My chest would ache and I could not stop the tears from flowing until the very end. 

In Her Wake is a beautiful story, one of grief and survival and it will forever stay with you.  If you are a fan of her Ten Tiny Breath's series then it is a must read but make sure to have your tissue box handy.


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