Title: Who We Were in the Dark
Author: Jessica Taylor
Publication: July 5, 2022
Publisher: Dial Books
Genre: Teens, YA Fiction
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads
Donner Lake is famous for its dazzling waters, dramatic mountains, and the travelers trapped there long ago who did unspeakable things to survive. But for lonely Nora Sharpe, Donner was where a girl named Grace glided into her life one night and exploded her world.
After that, every summer, winter, and spring break, Nora, her brother Wesley, the enigmatic Grace, and their friend Rand left behind their real lives and reunited at Donner Lake. There, they traded truth and lies. They fell in love. They pushed each other too far. They came to know each other better than anyone in some ways, and not at all in others.
But two years later, something has happened to blow their world apart. Grace is missing. And Nora must find her way through the unspoken hurts and betrayals of the last two years—and find her way back to Wesley and Rand—to figure out what exactly happened to Grace, the girl she thought she knew.
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
The first thing that caught my eye about this book was the cover. Then the synopsis hooked me. I love a good Teen and YA Fiction novel and I was excited to read this one. The story follows Nora and her brother Wesley as the go to a cabin in the mountains at Donner Lake and meet Grace and Rand and a friendship blossoms.
These characters could be my friends when I was a teen. I loved Nora’s personality. She was usually torn between having a good time and not sure if they should break the rules. That reminded me a lot of myself. Grace annoyed me a bit because it was almost like she was trying too hard a lot and she expected people to live up to a certain expectation that didn’t include herself doing the same. I also really enjoyed watching Nora’s personality and self develop over the course of this book. I felt out of all of them that she had the most personal growth and we got to witness it step by step.
I think the jumping back and forth between the current time and now was almost not needed. It didn’t add to the suspense of things aside from the fact that we knew Grace was missing. That could have easily been introduced as a prologue and then all those chapters about Nora and her brother coming back to the cabin could have been at the end. I feel it would have almost flowed a little better. I really enjoyed the ending though. I think as readers we build up an expectation while reading the book and you almost expect what is going to happen, but Taylor threw us that last shock at the end (no spoilers). It made me question if you should hold out hope in books or expect the worse. You never know which way the author will take you.
Overall this was a great read. It’s a well-written coming of age story about kids from all different paths coming together in a place that makes them almost the same with a bit of a twist at the end.