Part of the reason I liked The Year We Fell Down so much is that it felt so realistic and relatable. The Year We Hid Away definitely stretched the boundaries of realistic, but at least the characters were still believable in how they dealt with their individual situations and fell for each other. I really liked both of the characters and that always goes a long way to making a romance lovable.
Scarlet, previously Shannon, is escaping the nightmare of her family situation via her freshman year at Harkness College. With her new name, she feels protected and she’s not about to let go of that protection by blabbing all her secrets to the cute hockey player in two of her classes. Bridger is also keeping a family secret. His little sister is secretly staying with him in his dorm while his drug-using mother goes off the deep end. There’s a connection between Scarlet and Bridger from the start, but they both have to work towards letting themselves be vulnerable with each other.
I definitely enjoyed this one, even if it probably isn’t going to become a favorite that gets reread. I know it’s a romance and that basically ensures a happy ending, but their many personal problems wrapped up a little too nicely for my taste. Still, Bowen excels at writing interesting, realistic characters and I can’t wait to read what she writes next.