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Monday, June 9, 2014

Happy to be Alive, Because

"When I was seven years old, I rode my bike without training wheels for the first time. I made it about fifteen feet before I turned my head to make sure my mom was watching me. She was, and her excited expression was the last thing I saw before my face became well acquainted with the pavement.

After she cleaned my battle wounds, my mom announced that I deserved a reward for completing such a daunting task - we were going shopping. Within twenty minutes we were standing inside an incredibly gaudy store that, for some reason, I had claimed as my favorite when she asked me where I would like to go. I had never actually been inside, but the windows were always full of displays featuring feathers and sparkly things, and that was enough for me. My seven-year-old self stood in what was my idea of heaven, touching everything I could land my fingers on. After much deliberation, I chose a less gaudy, still obnoxious heart necklace that said "Forever and Always."

When I got in the car and I tried to put the necklace on, I was devastated to find it broken into two separate pieces. My mom explained to me that it was actually two separate necklaces that people who cared about each other wore so they wouldn't forget the other person. Looking back, I now see that those words were her nice way of conveying, "You picked one of those cheesy love necklaces adored by preteen girls."

Once we were home and she showed me how the necklaces worked, I promptly put the other one around her neck. "Don't forget me, " I told her. She was "Forever." I was "and Always."

My mom never once took that necklace off. She wore it proudly too, not hidden under a scarf or stuffed under her shirt.. I can remember sitting in front of the television watching the news, having begged my babysitter to let me stay up and watch my mom. Every time, I watched to see if she would be wearing my necklace. She always was, never once disappointing me. I never saw her without it on, ever. Not even as I said my goodbyes to her once cancer permanently took her away from me. The last thing I remember seeing on my mother before they lowered her away from me forever was that shiny, silly forever necklace." (pg 5-6)

Avery at seventeen now has to face her future alone without her mother and coming to terms with dealing with the grief she has managed to lock inside. Unable to shed any tears even right after her mother's death, her aunt is concerned that she won't be able to cope with things at some point. Avery discovers when going through her mother's room that she had planned one final trip for the two of them just two weeks before her death to visit her childhood home in Glynn Springs, Florida. Tired of all the concerns from family members and friends, Avery takes her mother's plans and head to Florida to escape life for the moment. She finds her mother has included a journal for Avery to list the things she is happy to be alive about, but honestly how can you be happy about anything knowing her best friend and mom is no longer with you. Yet Avery will soon discover life goes on and she won't be alone when she finds solace and comfort in three unlikely people she meets in Florida and it will forever change her life.

I received Happy to be Alive, Because by Chelsea Jacobs compliments of Nyree Press and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own unless otherwise noted. This is a coming of age story in a different way when Avery is forced to deal with her mother's death being buried so deep inside that it comes to the surface when she least expects it. She finds it difficult to journal her feelings because a part of her feels like she is betraying her mother's memory if she is happy about anything. It is a real and honest look at how one young woman deals with the fact that life does go on for those of us left behind no matter how hard it can be. I rate this novel a 4 out of 5 stars and love that it is a wonderfully written novel for young adults with a touch of summer love in the mix.

For more information about Happy to be Alive Because, Chelsea Jacobs or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Chelsea Jacob on her website to stay up to date with all her novels.

To read more reviews on Happy to be Alive, Because, please visit Litfuse Publicity's book tour page. 

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