I received this book for free from the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Throwing My Life Away by Liz Czukas
Published by Liz Czukas on 2016-12-20
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Source: the Author
Amazon • Barnes and Noble
7 photographs, 2 weeks, an entire life to get back. No problem, right?
After her stepfather accidentally throws away her high school mementos, sentimental Mariska is pretty sure the world is over. That is, until she comes up with a plan. She's going to recreate her past, with a little help from her friends.
It's not easy to rally everyone into helping, especially Caine, who couldn't be less sentimental about anything if he were a park bench. But from a guerilla kite festival to convincing her ex-boyfriend to recreate her lost prom picture, Mariska is willing to do what it takes.
With a little nudging from Caine, Mariska starts to realize she can't actually get her past back. And maybe that's okay. Because while she's so focused on the past, she's missing out on the present, where her friends are busy having the summer of their lives. And where funny, quiet Caine might just be the future she never knew she wanted.
You guys, this book is seriously cute. I was originally a little worried because I hadn’t love Liz Czukas’ last couple of New Adult romances (written under Ellie Cahill) but I really enjoyed her Young Adult books. So I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Plus, I completely admit, I wasn’t totally in love with the synopsis. I was worried it would be completely cheesy or too ridiculous or just too young. But it wasn’t any of those things! I really loved both the book and the message it sends and I really hope you guys will give it a try!
I think the reason I loved this one the most was because I could really relate to Mariska. When I was younger, I saved everything. I had boxes of notes my friends and I passed around to each other. I kept movie stubs. And I took pictures of EVERYTHING. I still do that. When my kids were babies, I tried to take pictures of everything. I was so afraid of forgetting a moment of their babyhood and felt like if I didn’t have evidence of it, maybe it didn’t even happen at all. And a lot of that is how Mariska feels. When we first meet her, she’s dismantling her room before heading off to college. She’s plastered her walls in photographs of her friends and her life events and it’s the only room in the entire house that her mom won’t touch but now that it’s time for her to move out, she also has to give up the room to her mom so she can redecorate it. And it’s been tough for Mariska to take everything down and cut what she saves to just a few boxes. Having been through those big moments of change and being stuck between wanting to move on but also not wanting anything to change, I really empathized with Mariska through these scenes. And my heart broke for her when she realizes what’s happened to her stuff.
This was where I started to worry a little about the book because it could have taken a horrible turn for the worst. I worried I would start to be annoyed by Mariska and her quest to recreate her most important pictures. I thought that maybe it would get over the tip ridiculous and I’d be rolling my eyes along the way. But Liz created such beautiful moments through these new/old experiences that I couldn’t help but love them. And I loved seeing Mariska’s change while trying to recreate them. She goes from needing everything to be just perfect like the original picture to realizing that you can’t make something beautiful and spontaneous happen again and that’s okay.
Of course my actual favorite part of the book was the friendships and banter that came along with them. I absolutely loved her friendship with Sun, who kept her grounded but also supported her crazy ideas. I always love positive female friendships in books because sometimes I really think they’re underrepresented. But Sun and Mariska were great together. And of course, Caine. The way their relationship developed was cute and while it was pretty predictable, I still loved them both and always like it when two people meet in the middle with their ideas and feelings. Both influenced the other’s thoughts and I really liked seeing how it all played out.
Overall, Throwing My Life Away was another great Liz Czukas book. It was fluffy and fun but also felt like the most realistic of all of Liz’s books. It could be because the main character was so relatable to me but I felt like everything was very real. Though, still, maybe a little softer than real life. But the parent/step-parent/child relationship felt almost normal here. And all of the feelings of being right on the edge of big changes were there with enough humor to keep it light.
If you’re looking for light YA contemporary books, you really need to check out Liz Czukas’ books. I really enjoy all of them and highly recommend all of them when you need something fun but this one is my new favorite!