*I received a free copy of A Walk in the Sun from Harper Teen via Edelweiss. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *A Walk in the Sun by Michelle Zink
Published by Harper Teen on 3 May 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Reading Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge
In this Bridges of Madison County for teens, Michelle Zink weaves a magnetic tale about summer love that stays with you long after the seasons change.
Rose Darrow never wanted to spend her life working on her family’s farm. But when her family is rocked by an unexpected tragedy she has no choice but to put her plans for the future—and dreams of escaping her small town—on hold.
Bodhi Lowell left home as a kid and hasn’t looked back. Years of working farm jobs has given him the one thing he wants most: freedom to travel without answering to anyone. He’s already looking past his job at Darrow Farm and plans on leaving in September—until he meets Rose.
Neither Rose nor Bodhi can deny the sparks flying between them, but with the end of summer looming, they must decide if it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all....
A Walk in the Sun made me feel the feels! Rose was a strong, young woman, one who didn’t realize her strength until the end of the story
One of the main themes of A Walk in the Sun is how grief can change us! Our outlook on life, our plans, our wants even, up to a point, our needs. After Rose’s mother passed away, her father became a shell of his former self, and the only person left to take care of the ranch, the animals and the house – on top of finishing high school – was Rose. She worked herself hard, and while she was tired more often than not, she also felt some kind of satisfaction because she was able to do it all. But at what cost? Before her mother’s passing, Rose’s dreams for the future always included traveling far. Both in the US and abroad, to live her life to the fullest and experience things she wouldn’t be able to do in her small hometown. Afterwards, though, the only thing that mattered was to keep the ranch going, all the while hoping her father would shake himself out of his depression and start taking an interest in the living once more.
I have nothing but admiration for Rose and her strength – I don’t think all teenagers would mature and feel so involved in the future of the ranch that had been her family’s for generations. When her aunt managed to get paid help for the ranch for the summer, Rose never imagined that she would go through a second transformation in less than a year! Tender family relations, friendship and new love kept me hoping that things would work out for Rose while she was dealing with her grief as well as being so busy. It seems that one of the ways she managed to keep the grief at arm’s length was to work hard, then crash into bed in order to start all over again the next day.
Bodhi changed all of that, though. With him, he brought a sense of more, of hope, of a different future than the one she had foreseen in the past months. With his air of mystery and detachment, Bodhi also brought with him a lot of knowledge, both about the animals and the ranch land, and he was very mature for his age. Having had to battle his own demons by living on his own since he was fourteen, he managed to still keep his focus outwards and towards the future.
With a dash of mystery, and more heartache both when it came to family matters and friends, A Walk in the Sun still managed to be pretty light-hearted most of the time. Living with grief, and then learning to live without a person she loved made Rose a lot stronger than she thought she was, and when she was able to open her heart, she learned that she still had different opportunities ahead.
Written in third person point of view, mostly from Rose’s perspective and in past tense, both the story itself and the characters – including the secondary characters – was well done, and I enjoyed getting to know them all.
People had been telling Rose that she looked like her mother since she was old enough to walk. Same red hair, same green eyes, both of them a little on the tall side. She hadn’t liked it when she was younger. She’d wanted to look like herself then. Like Rose, Not Kate Darrow’s daughter.
She laughed. “Hardly. It’s just… Well, everything’s going to change.” It wasn’t really the truth. Everything had already changed. But high school was one of those places where she could still see her mother, waiting to drive Rose home after school freshman year, walking the halls during Open House, cheering Rose on the one season she’d played volleyball.
Lexie laughed. “Feed that line to someone who doesn’t know better. I’ve seen your stash of travel brochures. Lie to me if you want. I love you. I can take it.” She hesitated, then opened the door. “Just don’t lie to yourself.”