Monday, May 11, 2015

Review: Remember When By T. Torrest

Title: Remember When
Author: T. Torrest
Published Date: December 29th 2012

Years before Trip Wiley could be seen on movie screens all over the world, he could be seen sitting in the desk behind me in my high school English class.

This was back in 1990, and I cite the year only to avoid dumbfounding you when references to big hair or stretch pants are mentioned. Although, come to think of it, I am from New Jersey, which may serve as explanation enough. We were teenagers then, way back in a time before anyone could even dream he’d turn into the Hollywood commodity that he is today.

In case you live under a rock and don't know who Trip Wiley is, just know that these days, he’s the actor found at the top of every casting director’s wish list. He’s incredibly talented and insanely gorgeous, the combination of which has made him very rich, very famous and very desirable.

And not just to casting directors, either.

I can’t confirm any of the gossip from his early years out in Tinseltown, but based on what I knew of his life before he was famous, I can tell you that the idea of Girls-Throwing-Themselves-At-Trip is not a new concept.

I should know. I was one of them.

And my life hasn’t been the same since.
(Synopsis Provided By Goodreads)

Flashback to the 90s - when the cheesiest of things were the best things. Remember When is a retelling of how girl, Layla Warren, met the boy of her dreams, Terrence C. Wilmington III aka Trip, and fell madly in love with him. But a love story is never that simple, is it?

Layla Warren was the tomboy of her small suburban town in New Jersey. Where the boys and girls you saw playing on your street were the ones you stood next to at high school graduation. Growing up with with boys, Layla never minded playing a little ruff, or getting a little dirt on her but as she entered high school, she began to take notice of the way people saw her, and just like any other girl how the boys started to see her. Having her mother walk out on her left her a little lost and unprepared for the next chapter in her life. While most kids who make that transition into their teenage years scared and somewhat alone, Layla relied on her best friend Lisa to guide her through high school. However, nothing could prepare Layla for the new boy in town, Trip. It was the all encompassing, love at first sight type of feeling when Layla met Trip. He was the new kid. All worldly and intimidating with his knowledge of the big cities he came from. That adorable dimple and that head of beautiful messy blonde hair. As fate had it, Layla and Trip only needed one encounter to know that there was something between them that was more than curiosity but timing seemed to always get in the way of Layla and Trip's fate.

This story was told spectacularly! A recount of one girls high school experience with first love, best friends, and self discovery! Layla is such a breath of fresh air! The story is told from her POV and she is anything but boring! She narrates with such realism and blatant honesty, you can't help but be captivated! She takes you through all the ugly emotions of being abandoned, to all the jittery feels of finding that first job or the heart stopping moment of meeting the boy of your dreams. Remember When was such a phenomenal story that was crafted with such care. Never rushing through the very important details of growing up. And of course there's the hottie Trip ;P

Layla our main character, I believe embodies a little bit of everyone. I found characteristics of myself in her which made me connect with the story a lot more! Besides me, I think anyone could find a characteristic about her that resonates with them. She's got a funny wit to her. Watching her interact with others, especially Trip the main boy of Remember When, was so entertaining! 

Layla also explores the social setting of high school in a very different way than most. She does fall into the 'popular' crowd in high school but gives us a look into how she views the other people who aren't. Her ideals don't put her on top of anybody. Instead she sees it as everyone and anyone can say and do what they want. Some people can't handle the pressure of being in a social scene, some are too defensive. I walked away from Remember When with thinking about how high school students are so quick to get defensive especially against the 'popular' kids but why? What separates us all? Very interesting ideas were explored with her character through high school. She still has her insecurities that connect her to anyone in the story and in the real world.

The love story that unfolds in Remember When is so terrifyingly accurate to a real world teen romance! Or well, what I presume as a real world teen romance from my own experiences. There is so much subtleness to Layla's feelings, actions, and thoughts that made the story develop gradually and flawlessly. Anyone who's ever had a crush or liked someone when they were a teen can, I think, relate to Layla as she goes on this journey to befriend Trip the new boy in town. 

She starts off as an infatuated girl, secretly pining away for him inside her head but as she separates this crazy feelings, she begins to enjoy just hanging around and learning about Trip. Layla and Trip become the best of friends and each others safe ground for when they have to deal with hard times in their own lives. Their relationships seems to jump between pushing it to the next level and staying on safe friend zone for fear of ruining the friendship entirely. What I loved about Remember When is that the author never shied away from writing the harshness of friendships, life, and love. There was so much intrigue to all the plot twists that I was flipping through the pages so fast for this book! As much as there were really sad moments, there were great ones of life milestones we get to experience with main character Layla. 

Besides the love story that unfolds in this book, the retelling of Layla's life growing up in the 90s was extremely entertaining! Rather then place emphasis on painting a materialistic 90s scene, the author writes her characters and their personalities with the 90s in tow. Along with setting, the energy of the book itself was 90s. Great writing!

One of my favourite quotes from the book:

“I'd won our school science fair in the fourth grade, my "Phases of an Egg" presentation eclipsing the dozen or so baking-soda-and-vinegar volcanoes presented by the rest of our class. I'd taken gold in our town's Junior Olympics when I was ten, and got to stand up on the top of a three-tiered pedestal after placing first in the Fifty Yard Dash. One time when I was fourteen, I'd received a Presidential Physical Fitness certificate from Ronald Reagan, when I logged a record-breaking eighty-two situps in the span of a minute. But nothing compared to the sense of accomplishment I felt - no award, no ribbon, no trophy - no achievement lived up to the unfathomable triumph of having won the heart of Terrence C. Wilmington III.” 
-Layla Warren

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.

I'm a sucker for love stories and Remember When is one told brilliantly! Such vivid detail of growing up in the 90s with all the drama of falling in love, figuring out whats next but also learning to live in the moment! I loved this one!


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