Happy New Year! And welcome to the first book I completed in 2020. I’ve been doing this for a year now, and although I still have a long way to go—and will definitely have some growing pains with the baby coming soon—I’m excited to continue this journey. Thank you for reading!
The book cover to Abigail Johnson’s Every Other Weekend (in stores now!) is what first drew me in. The colour scheme is gorgeous, and you could tell from just the cover what the story was going to be about (the big picture, anyway). I wanted to read some YA, too, since I haven’t picked up anything in a while in the genre that I really liked, so I also had some pretty high hopes.
Can life begin again…every other weekend?
Adam Moynihan’s life used to be awesome. Straight As, close friends and a home life so perfect that it could have been a TV show straight out of the 50s. Then his oldest brother died. Now his fun-loving mom cries constantly, he and his remaining brother can’t talk without fighting, and the father he always admired proved himself a coward by moving out when they needed him most.
Jolene Timber’s life is nothing like the movies she loves—not the happy ones anyway. As an aspiring director, she should know, because she’s been reimagining her life as a film ever since she was a kid. With her divorced parents at each other’s throats and using her as a pawn, no amount of mental reediting will give her the love she’s starving for.
Forced to spend every other weekend in the same apartment building, the boy who thinks forgiveness makes him weak and the girl who thinks love is for fools begin an unlikely friendship. The weekends he dreaded and she endured soon become the best part of their lives. But when one’s life begins to mend while the other’s spirals out of control, they realize that falling in love while surrounded by its demise means nothing is ever guaranteed.
I want to preface everything by saying that this book does contain verbal and physical abuse, serious emotional distress, as well as one instance of unwanted sexual advances, so this might not be the best choice for some readers. Johnson was great, however, in including resources for anyone struggling with any of the above.
That being said, this book could have been very dark. It touches a lot of serious subject matter and contains characters that are going through some pretty terrible things, but somehow Johnson manages to keep it fun (most of the time) and endearing. The story focuses on Adam and Jolene, both children from broken marriages who spend every other weekend with their dads in a sad, rundown apartment building. I had a hard time understanding why Adam was constantly battling his dad, who seemed to be a good guy, and I found Jolene really hard to sympathize with until you got more and more of her story, so it was a bit of a slow burn for me.
I did really enjoy how the narration worked, taking turns between Adam and Jolene, while also mostly skipping over what was happening on the “other” weekends when they weren’t at the apartment, much like their relationship would actually be. I was always intrigued by what was going to happen next, and in the end I was surprised by how invested I was in everyone’s story—including many of the secondary characters. My biggest criticism was that Adam and Jolene were only 15/16 years old throughout the story…and I couldn’t see actual teenagers, even ones who are going through some bad stuff, actually having the kinds of conversations they were having. It seemed a little bit too mature, to the point where I was forgetting they were teenagers most of the time.
If you’re a lover of YA, I can’t see why you wouldn’t want to pick this book up. It’s a quick read with a lot of feeling and a lot of moving pieces that will keep you entertained all the way to the end.
“The problem was that he’d made me want his happiness more than my own. And his future could be happier without me in it.” —Abigail Johnson, Every Other Weekend
Thank you to NetGalley, Harlequin Teen and Inkyard Press for the advanced copy, and to Brandon Griggs on Unsplash for the featured photo of the apartment.