Every Last Promise by Kristin Halbrook
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 21st 2015 by HarperTeen
Source: Publisher for honest review
Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson and Gayle Forman, Every Last Promise is a provocative and emotional novel about a girl who must decide between keeping quiet and speaking up after witnessing a classmate’s sexual assault.
Kayla saw something at the party that she wasn’t supposed to. But she hasn’t told anyone. No one knows the real story about what happened that night—about why Kayla was driving the car that ran into a ditch after the party, about what she saw in the hours leading up to the accident, and about the promise she made to her friend Bean before she left for the summer.
Now Kayla’s coming home for her senior year. If Kayla keeps quiet, she might be able to get her old life back. If she tells the truth, she risks losing everything—and everyone—she ever cared about. – Goodreads
Review: From the start I knew/expected what the book would be like based on the subject matter however, I didn’t expect it to depress me as much it did. It’s a story about a girl, Kayla, who goes through something extreme in her life. It makes her question many things and we don’t necessarily find out what it is until about three quarters of the book. Which I think is really good because that way we get to experience what someone who is going through something like this must be experiencing. (I don’t want to say what that something is as it might be a spoiler, and I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone.) Anyways throughout the book, I kept thinking how similar this seems to be to Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.
Anyways, back to plot, I didn’t read the synopses of the story and just dived right into it. Kayla is from the perfect, small town with the super close community in which everyone knows everybody. And once Kayla does the “inexplicable” to the community by causing an accident after witnessing a crime, she is, for lack of better words, ostracized by the community and her friends. However she does make one friend in particular that somehow knows something about what she saw and why she had the accident. Throughout the story, Kayla struggles with the way everyone is treating her and with the decision of telling or not telling the truth.
The writing in the book is very good. Like I said earlier, as soon as I got through about twenty pages, the writing reminded me very much of Laurie Halse Anderson’s writing and especially of Speak. The story is also very similar, in regards to subject matter, perpetrator, even the treatment of the main character. Throughout the story, the way that Kayla reacts to the treatment that she receives is very interesting because if I was put in that situation, I would be telling the reason for the accident. However, she was also thinking about protecting herself all the same and the victim. What made the situation even worse however, is that in comparison to Speak, the rapist, is not ust some boy she met at a party but someone she knows very well and who she thought could never do something like this. The way that she is treated is probably what causes her to question everyone and everything about her decision to tell or not. She is afraid that if she tells anyone that the treatment will get worse or that it would happen to her too. She is also afraid of the way the community would start treating her differently also especially since if she tells, their “golden boy” would be going to jail.
The story is good and compelling and keeps you on edge to figure out who the victim is and what will happen to Kayla once/if she decides to tell what she saw/ experienced. But it’s just too similar to Speak for me and it just takes too long for Kayla to decide.
Overall: 3.5 out of 5