Book review: These Things I’ve Done by Rebecca Phillips

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After indirectly causing her best friend’s death, Dara left town to get away from the constant reminders of what she did. Now, fifteen months later, she’s back for her senior year of high school. Though she can rattle off a whole list of reasons that she’s back, the truth is that she thinks she deserves every whisper behind her back, every snide comment, and every pointed glare in the hallways.  Nothing anybody could say about her could possibly be worse than what she did to Aubrey, so she might as well face it.

Can Dara learn to forgive herself and move forward with her life?

One of the things I do when I’m bored is to scroll through upcoming releases from my favorite publishers on Edelweiss. (I know, my life is so exciting.) When I saw this book pop up in HarperTeen’s catalog, I immediately wanted to read it. It took me a few months, but I ended up buying it for myself for Christmas. I’d never read a YA book like this before and I loved the title and premise.

It took me a little while to get into this one, but starting around page 50 or so, I couldn’t bring myself to put it down! The book focuses a lot on the aftermath of Aubrey’s death, weaving it in almost seamlessly with flashbacks of the year before she died. Pre-accident, Dara was bold, outgoing, almost larger-than-life. Post-accident, Dara is depressed, withdrawn, afraid to so much as touch another person for fear of hurting them. The accident changed her interactions with her family, her friends, her classmates, and even strangers on the street.  Although she was never legally implicated in Aubrey’s death, Dara fully blames herself for what happened.

The story is both heartbreaking and uplifting, with a little bit of romance thrown in for good measure. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read more from this author.

Final rating: ★★★★☆

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