Four Days of You and Me almost gets four stars from me.
Four Days of You and Me is the first young adult contemporary book by Miranda Kenneally set outside of the Hundred Oaks series. Every year, aspiring writer Lulu, along with the rest of her class, attends a class field trip. During freshman year, the field trip sparks a relationship between Lulu and a fellow classmate, sports star Alex. Four Days of You and Me documents their changing relationship throughout their high school years.
I have read every book in the Hundred Oaks series by Miranda Kenneally, so I was excited to see her first book outside of the sports-themed books that she wrote in the past. For me, the Hundred Oaks series was hit-or-miss, but overall, each book was a quick and light-hearted contemporary. Four Days of You and Me was everything that I would expect from this author. Therefore, if you like Miranda Kenneally’s other books, then you would probably enjoy this book.
One aspect of this book that set it apart from Kenneally’s other books was the timeline. This book takes place on the same day throughout a four-year period, with flashbacks to other events that happened in the same year. Sometimes, timelines in books that frequently jump around can be unsuccessfully executed, which makes the book confusing to read. I think Kenneally did a nice job of jumping back and forth between different times without confusing the reading. Despite some problems I had with pacing towards the end (unrelated to the time jumping), I think the jumping to different periods of time actually made the book a quicker read and motivated me to continue the story.
That being said, the pacing in the last 20% of the book wasn’t my favorite. There were plot points introduced quickly into the end that could cause large rifts between the main characters or greatly impact their futures. When I expected the all is lost moment or some major area of conflict in the plot, it was resolved quickly with little impact on the story. In a sense, it was nice not to have a huge bomb dropped at the end of the book because throughout the story, you grow up with all the characters, and it leaves more of a bittersweet tone surrounding their last hurrah before graduation. At the same time, the problems weren’t as fleshed out as issues presented earlier in the book, so the ending felt slightly rushed.
Another aspect that I enjoyed were the characters. Since you see these characters from their freshman year, you get to see how they all grow, not just the main characters. I always wonder what happens to a character after the short time span we typically see in a novel, so it was cool to see how the characters in this novel literally grow up before your eyes. Getting more in-depth with all the characters also made the ending of the story emotional. Thinking about all the highlights of their high school career and then knowing that they will grow their separate ways will help readers in high school or people who graduated high school really connect with this story because they can themselves or their friends within the characters in this novel.
That being said, I did have some personal preferences that impacted my reading experience. Lulu, the main character, wants to write graphic novels. Throughout the book, we see her write the story, then she goes onto query agents and get more into the publishing process. For me, I don’t always mind when characters are writing a book, but for some reason, it always puts me off when such little details about the publishing industry are within a novel. To quote one of my favorite contestants from Survivor, Michaela Bradshaw, it’s like when a magician pulls a bunny out of a hat but they walk in with the bunny instead—it just takes away the magic of being fully immersed in a book, like the characters are real people, but now you are reminded that they are not.
Overall, Four Days of You and Me is a fun and easy to read contemporary book. While I did enjoy this book, there were some aspects that weren’t my favorite or could be improved. I give Four Days of You and Me three out of five stars.
What do you think of books that follow a non-linear timeline?
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