An Authentic Experience by Kelly Wittmann
Publisher: Sara Camilli Literary Agency
Published February 13th 2018
Genres: YA, Contemporary
* Received this copy from the Author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you very much! This doesn’t affect the review in any way. My opinions are, as always, my own.*
Fifteen-year-old Silver Abelli’s life has been as tumultuous as the punk rock she was raised on. Her divorced parents just don’t get along, even though they’re both musicians who stubbornly spurn the mainstream but secretly crave the limelight. Silver has always lived with her mom, Nicola, but when Nicola is diagnosed with a brain tumor, she must go to live with her obnoxious, hard-partying father, Renz. Because her family is so traumatized by Nicola’s condition, Silver doesn’t know where to turn when she suffers her own trauma. Will the truth set her free, or will it only make a bad situation worse? Find out in this story of family, friends, and young love.
CW: Rough language, one scene of violence
This is a difficult one to review… It’s quite a striking book, but it was also not the easiest for me to get into? A big part of this book is related to music, and to be honest my knowledge in that department is not the biggest… I probably did miss some music references here, so I can’t really say much about that side of the story, although I must say I did enjoy it! I thought it quite strong and thought-provoking and for sure emotional. So, it’s a bit of a mix for me this time.
This book deals with health problems like cancer, abuse / physical violence (only one scene). Plus keep an open mind for cursing. As for the story… Silver, is a 15 yo with a VERY dysfunctional family. And when I say VERY dysfunctional is like, the most dysfunctional I’ve ever read of and yet I adored it? I know it sounds weird, but her family just seemed so realistic, so… humane? And after seeing both their bad and good sides, I just can’t help but adore her family and how emotional it made me. They are for sure unconventional but they also have their fair share of normal that felt really captivating for some reason. I adore Silver’s grandparents and I loved how strong her mother was! She is such an inspiration! Also, I loved how big and connected her family was (in a certain way).
As for Silver, I could totally see the 15 yo part showing, which sometimes can annoy me a bit, but overall she was a great character. I loved to see her figuring out her life, and how to deal with everything that was happening around her. She is for sure a strong girl and I love how decisive of a person she turned out to be. It was quite hard reading about everything going on with both her and her family, but it was also really rewarding.
There’s for sure romance in this book, quite a normal teenage romance, that might at times feel slightly old-school too. I guess it’s the effect of reading about a small-town romance, it always gives me this type of old-style vibe? But it was still quite modern. It’s a bit of a mix really. But it was for sure enjoyable and surprising at times. There’s a bit of LGBT in here too, which I found to be a nice addition.
But there were also some parts that made me slightly uncomfortable, and I’m not talking about the violence part or anything like that. Those made me uncomfortable for obvious reasons and were done well and in a striking and unexpected way. But I’m talking about some normal scenes, that I just didn’t enjoy the way they were portrayed… And that’s why I kind of feel a bit mixed up on how to rate this book. On one side I feel that it was powerful and emotional and quite enjoyable, but on the other, there are some parts that I didn’t necessarily like.
Overall it’s an interesting and a quite unique story, with a lot of important messages, with characters that I learned to love and that I loved reading about. It totally gripped me and made me emotional. I would for sure recommend it.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!