Thursday, December 21, 2017

ARC Review: Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

Now That You Mention It
Author: Kristan Higgins
Publication: HQN (December 26, 2017)

Description: One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.

Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant, a wild-child sister in jail and a withdrawn teenage niece as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was, Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family. Balancing loss and opportunity, dark events from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.

My Thoughts: This is Nora Stuart's story. It begins with an accident when she is hit by Beantown Bug Killers van while jaywalking and overhears her boyfriend hitting on another doctor while she comes back to consciousness. This is just the final straw that sends her back home to Scupper Island to heal.

Nora left Scupper Island as soon as she could for college and hasn't returned since. During the time she was away she attended Tufts, medical school, and has become a gastroenterologist. (I'm pretty sure this is the first story I've ever read where the main character had that career.) After a childhood with a distant mother and a fun father who disappeared without a trace when she was in fifth grade and a horrible school career when she was sad, bullied, overweight and felt unattractive, she had hoped never to return.

Coming back gives her a chance to catch her breath, get over old trauma, and try to forge a new relationship with her family. After her father left, she and her beloved sister Lily grew more and more distant from each other. When Nora left for Tufts, Lily left for Seattle where she had a daughter named Poe and started a life of crime. Now Lily is in prison, fifteen-year-old Poe is on the island with Nora's mother, and her mother is still distant. Nora would really like to get to know her niece and repair her relationship with her sister but neither one of them is making it easy.

Adding to the family drama, Nora faces resentment from many of the islanders because they feel she stole her scholarship from the local golden boy Luke whose life since high school has been consumed by drug and alcohol addictions. She feels guilty that her winning the scholarship caused Luke to have a car accident that left his brother Sullivan with a traumatic brain injury that is causing him now to lose his hearing. Luke also still blames her for the loss of the scholarship and sort of stalks her which brings back another traumatic event in her life.

This story was by turns funny and heart-wrenching and heart warming and kept me reading late into the night. I recommend this story.

Favorite Quote:
When it finally became clear that my father wasn't coming back any time soon, I did what unhappy girls do all over the earth, and especially in America.

I ate.

That first, joyless summer crept past in inches. A new school year started, and I was hungry all the time. Loneliness for my father was like a sinkhole, and I couldn't find enough food to fill it, despite always taking seconds, always scraping my plate.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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