Sunday, July 9, 2017

Review: The Whys Have It by Amy Matayo

Heidi Reads... The Whys Have It by Amy Matayo

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


His music holds the heart of America... but his soul holds a terrible secret.

Chart topping pop musician Cory Minor has it all—fame, money, more women at his disposal than time to spend on them. He’s living the life most American men only dream of. Until an ordinary concert in Springfield threatens to destroy everything he’s worked for. 

As he and his band leave the arena for his next show, Cory’s tour bus crashes into two teenage girls, killing one girl instantly and leaving the other barely clinging to life. Lawsuits are threatened, tabloids are talking, and Cory’s idyllic world falls apart. But what no one knows is that this scene is all too familiar. Because this isn’t the first accident Cory has caused. This isn’t the first time he’s destroyed someone else’s life to save his own. 

It’s just the first time he’s had to face it head on. 

Small town girl Samantha Dalton has no one—no mother, no father, and now no sister. She’s lost everything in a world that celebrates excess. So when Cory Minor shows up at her doorstep offering money and apologies, she turns him away too. You can’t lose what you don’t have, and she can’t take another letdown, especially not from someone who has managed to rip away all she had left. Samantha has been fine on her own for years, she’ll be fine now too. 

At least that’s what she tells herself. 

But Cory won’t leave. He’s persistent in the worst possible way. 

Will Cory’s determination to make things right pay off in the end, or will Sam keep pushing him away until there’s nothing left to fight for? How can two people learn to rely on each other when life keeps hurting them both?

My Review

There are heavy themes that this book focuses on, including death, grief, secrets, and depression. Despite the bleakness of the characters' circumstances, there is gratitude and hope that motivates them to reach out and continue on. I admired Sam's genuineness. She faces the hard things in her life and perseveres through the process of acceptance of loss. Cory's regrets are eating him up inside, and getting to know Sam is a catalyst for his memories to surface, forcing him to deal with feelings that he has been repressing for years. His struggles are shown through his first person perspective, and the internal dialogue is realistic and gritty. The contrast of his inner goodness and the selfish persona he has embraced is stark, and with Sam's influence, he sees the emptiness of his life without the peace that good choices bring. They have a great chemistry, with banter and teasing and attraction and friendship and support. I also loved Phyllis, the health care worker that takes Sam under her wing whenever she visits her father suffering from Alzheimer's. Her caring and support is given freely and without hesitation. I particularly appreciated this piece of wisdom she shares and I think it represents what the book is all about:

"You can ask why all day long if you want to. You can ask God why and your friends why and yourself why until you're buried in nothing but that single question, but you'll never get an answer. This side of heaven, time is the only thing that helps a little bit. So don't give in. Don't let the whys have it. Don't let them take advantage of you. They'll crush your heart and steal your peace and mess with your mind and wrap around you so tight you won't be able to breathe. Don't let the whys ruin your life, child. Every time they try to sneak up, push them aside and move forward. Trust me, it's the only way you can get on with living." 
I turn toward the window and think about her words. "What if I can't? Let it go, I mean?" 
I don't see her smile, but I can hear it. "You can. I know you can. Because no matter how hard life gets, there's always goodness right around the corner. All you have to do is look for it."

Even though it's not light reading, I'm glad that I read this book and contemplated the questions that Cory and Sam face as they seek to cope with the haunting and devastating things in their lives.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

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