ARC Review: How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

howtowalkaway

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Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment. 

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect. 

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I actually got this ARC a long time ago and was very interested too, especially with all the great reviews, but the subject matter seemed very intense and I wasn’t ready for it. Imagine my surprise when I pick it up after all this time and it turns out to be so completely different.

After Margaret is paralyzed due to the plane crash, it takes some time for her to even realize the gravity of the situation. She goes through a myriad of emotions that we expect – anxiety, hope, despair, determination, depression – and the whole cycle repeats day to day. I really admire her for her strength, not just in the wake of the accident, but also breaking up with Chip, losing her dream job and basically losing a sense of her old life and not knowing what the future has in store. She never completely lets go and holds onto some sliver of hope and works very hard every single day.

It’s the side characters and their personalities that were a huge turn off for me. Margaret’s father is the calm in the storm that is her mother. And when her estranged sister Kitty comes back, more drama ensues. Both mother and sister are pushy, forceful, want Margaret to do just what they tell her to without any questions. Keeping a positive attitude in such a devastating situation is understandable but they take it whole another level. Margaret’s boyfriend/fiance/ex was another person I couldn’t sympathize with. I understand the guilt he was going through but he made it all about him and never even gave Maggie a chance to talk or sort through her feelings. His mother clearly loves her son but I couldn’t understand how she could be so apathetic towards her best friend’s daughter who was lying in the hospital. Kitty and Chip also take pictures of Maggie in the hospital and post to their social media without ever asking her permission or considering her right to privacy and it really infuriated me. Even Maggie’s PT Ian initially pissed me off but the relationship that slowly developed between them was sweet and heartening.

I also felt that the last part of the book was rushed through. The romance, the secrets and revelations, Maggie’s plans for the future – everything just happened very quickly and all the storylines got wrapped up neatly which felt too unrealistic.

This was a quick read and the writing was very easy to get through. Margaret is the highlight of this book and I loved her. If you don’t mind an overtly optimistic book, then you might enjoy this one. But I guess I expected a little more intensity and emotions. Not a bad book at all but just not what I hoped it would be.

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PS: Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for providing me an advance copy of this book. All opinions expressed here are mine and unbiased.

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