March 1, 2013

Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally

Release Date: March 1, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 304
Series: Hundred Oaks
#3 (A companion book that can be read as a standalone)
Review Source: ARC for review from Raincoast Books

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…

This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt…with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…

My Thoughts:
I completely adore how Miranda Kenneally is willing to discuss such serious (and touchy, for many people) issues in her books. And because of this I think my review for ‘Things I Can’t Forget’ will be a bit different from my normal ones. I know there will be some very strong reactions to this book, so I thought I would reflect on the issues that the book presents, and especially on the book’s main character.

Kate Kelly is a tricky character. I think for a lot of people she might seem too religious to relate to. However I think if you take a deeper look you can identify with Kate and her situation. Kate has done something which she believes to be immoral, something that she doesn’t believe in, to help a friend. Then because of prejudice (on both sides) that friendship falls apart. I think we’ve all had friendships end, and we’ve probably all been in situations where we have to make a difficult decision based on what we believe, whether that be related to religion, politics, or even just personal morals.

Personally I can relate a lot to Kate’s situation. I also grew up in a relatively strict Christian household, and at one point I think I was in that bubble where it was shocking to realize how other people were living, and what other people thought was right, versus what I grew up believing. Because of this I can really empathize with Kate as a character, even when her beliefs come across as rigid or judgmental.

I think as you read the book you see that Kate is someone who has a belief system and is growing up and learning about herself and her place in the world, just like anyone else. We see Kate try and reconcile her own faith and beliefs both with her own behaviour and with others’ beliefs and behaviours. Kate has never been a position before where she’s had to question her beliefs, and she finally sees how other people might find her judgmental. I love how Kate manages to stick to her fundamental beliefs, and yet also grows as a person, accepting that others might not always believe the same things as her. She realizes that it’s not the end of the world for people to have different beliefs, and that it’s not her place to judge people, especially before getting to know them.

I can't write this review without commenting on how much I adored the romance in this one. I’m pretty sure I would love any romance that Miranda Kenneally writes, but I especially loved Matt and Kate together because of their past connection. I loved how their relationship came out of an easy friendship, and the summer camp setting was a perfect place for them to explore their feelings. I loved the mutual respect that existed in their relationship, and how their feelings made Kate question (for the first time) what boundaries should exist in physical relationships before marriage.

I really can’t say enough about how much I enjoy Miranda Kenneally’s books. I always feel so much for her characters and their relationships. I love the examination of deeper issues that gets mixed in with totally swoony romances. After ‘Stealing Parker’ Miranda rose to the top of my auto-buy list, but this book just confirmed my feelings.

The Cover:
Cute!! I like it.


Find Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.


  1. I'm so happy you loved this one, Ashley! And it's great to read a book you can really identify with. I can't say this is my FAVOURITE of her books, but I did enjoy it more than I thought I would.

    Great review!

    1. I think Catching Jordan is still my favourite, but I really love them all.

  2. I feel like I might be one of those people that struggles with Kate a bit given her rigid adherence to her belief system, but religion has never played a big role in my life so I don't really know what it's like to believe in something so completely and then have to deal with it being tested. I'm really glad I read your review before picking this one up Ashley, I think maybe now I'll approach Kate a little differently:)

    1. Awesome, it's always great when you can come in with a little background information.

  3. This one is on my Kindle, waiting for me. I was a little leery of the religious aspect to Kate (not being so religious myself) but that she's willing to keep an open mind and allow herself to grow makes me feel much better about her. I agree with Jenny -- I'll come into this with a different approach!

    1. She's definitely tough to like at a couple parts, but I love how she does learn and grow.

  4. Sounds good! and I'm glad you liked it and what you explained about how religion and religiousness was treated in the book. I come from a hard core catholic family so I sometimes have issues with how religion is handled in books, but it sounds like I could get behind this.

    I still need to read Stealing Parker but it sounds good.

    1. I wish there were more books that treated religion in a positive way. Most people who believe in God aren't fundamentalists condemning everyone else, and it would be nice to see that represented.

  5. I love summer stories and I love camp stories! Maybe because I never got to go to a camp but books and movies always make them seem so much fun! Well, except for the horror movies, but that's not important here. Anyways... lol

    I love that you said the relationship starts as an easy friendship. I love those type of romances. I still need to start thee books, but I really look forward to it. :)

    1. Summer camp stories are awesome! I went once and really didn't care for it a ton, but I still love the idea of it.

  6. This one sounds like it won't disappoint! I love this series and Miranda is quickly becoming one of my go to contemporary authors :) I'm glad you liked it and howyou explained how the relationship kind of flowed and seemed really easy for both characters.
    Sounds so good :)

  7. I have been hearing/seeing a lot of good things about this author. However, I have never thought to read her. I don't know why. But this book I have been seeing a lot of good things about and I really want to look into it. Thanks for the review!

    Sara @ Just Another Story

  8. I enjoyed Catching Jordan, except I did have a little bit of a problem with the pacing of the romance. I haven't read Stealing Parker yet, but that book and this one sound like they would be good stories for when I'm in the mood for a good contemporary novel. I like how this series is made up of companion books that can be read as standalones because I am in the middle of way too many series right now.

    1. Yes, companion novels are really the best! Love them.

      I'm trying not to start too many series right now, because I agree -- there are too many!


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment; I appreciate each one!


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