I was sent a copy of this book to review by the author.
*** SPOILERS AHEAD ***
Before I start to give my views on this book let me tell you what it is about.
My Life as I Knew it follows the story of Maggie, a 17 year old girl living in Seattle. One night she wakes up to hear screaming and finds her mum being stabbed to death by her stepfather. Next thing she knows she is waking up in the hospital to find out she had an asthma attack and fell down the stairs. Maggie is overcome with grief and finds herself struggling to breathe, and then there is those annoying detectives trying to get information out of her. Maggie temporarily moves in with her grandparents but the house is filled with memories of her mother. Already struggling to sleep due to the same nightmare haunting her every night. Maggie finds her life taking an even bigger downturn when she goes out to get a distraction from it all and all the people in town are staring at her and talking about. her, some even turn around and walk the other way to avoid her. It’s nearly time for her to start her senior year at high school but with people acting like that, how is she ever meant to go back to leading a normal life?
Maggie decides to move to Los Angeles to live with her biological father, Bill. As her stepfather still hasn’t been caught this is also safer for her. She starts her senior year in Los Angeles and finds herself quickly becoming part of a group of four close friends. One of them stands out the most, a good looking, funny guy named Sam. She finds herself feeling better when she is around him and starts falling for him pretty fast. But will she ever get over her nightmares and where is her stepfather?
I had some pretty mixed feelings about this
book and I will keep my review completely honest.
I really struggled to get into this book as the first 13 chapters were very repetitive. A constant recount of how Maggie had found her mother being stabbed, her having panic attacks and not being able to deal with day to day life. I pushed myself through them because I knew in the end something had to happen.
The blurb on the back of the book made me think I was going to fall in love with it the minute I started reading it, I was expecting a thriller or a action packed book with some intense plot twists and turns, this wasn’t the case. But what I got in the end was just as great.
When Maggie does finally move to Los Angeles and starts her new school she meets new people. Their characters are great, especially Sam, I loved Sam. Their witty banter and his massive ego (in a joking way) make you laugh out loud and feel good. You want to see the two of them get together because he makes her happy. The other characters are great as well, they all have bubbly and funny personalities and it is the kind of friend group you find yourself wishing you were part of.
My personal opinion is that the first thirteen chapters weren’t needed, especially not in the length they were written in. In fact, I felt like I was reading two completely different books. Of course, when Maggie moves to LA she still struggles with the death of her mum but she becomes a happier person and it is not all she speaks about. The first part of the book is mostly her moaning and panicking, the second part is about a beautiful relationship and friendship forming. And I loved the second part so much. I wish the book had gotten to the second part faster and lasted longer. I found myself sad that it finished where it did and hope there will be a follow up to see where Sam and Maggie end up and if they both get into UCLA as they are planning on.
One other aspect I wish I could’ve seen more of was the fact that her stepfather was still out there and he was dangerous. I feel like there was no build up to the point where he suddenly appeared in the house and threatened her, I saw it coming, I knew it had to happen at some point, I just wish there was more tension there.
If you read this book and you find yourself struggling with the first few chapters then sit through them or skip ahead as the second part of the book truly is great. It will make you smile, laugh out loud and make you feel extremely happy, also maybe a little sad because we can’t all find a guy as great as Sam…
Love Mallory x