Review: The Choice by Allison J. Kennedy

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I’ve recently gotten myself into a bit of a realistic/contemporary fiction obsession. Where I once filled my shelves and wish lists with the newest Dystopian/Scifi/Fantasy/Paranormal novels, I’m now starting to find myself drawn to these realistic novels with real-world problems and tearjerking moments (not to say that I’m done with the other genres!)

I received a copy of The Choice from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I started it on Friday, and I finished it very early Sunday morning, after taking a day off from reading on Saturday.

Without further ado, my spoiler-free review!

I’ll start with the description, which is from Goodreads.

How do you heal from your past when you’re still trapped within it?

I lost myself the night of the party. Just like that, my innocence and my sanity were torn away.

I would like to say that time heals all wounds, but it doesn’t. And I would like to say that falling in love is what rescued me, but it wasn’t. Nobody told me what to expect in the coming days and weeks and months after conceiving a rapist’s child. Years later, my wounds are still just as fresh as the night they were made. It would be so easy to disappear and allow the memories to consume me.

But that’s the choice, isn’t it? To live instead.

**This book contains rape triggers. Discretion is advised. **

From the description, you can see that this isn’t a cute, breezy summer love story. This is a raw, real novel, with pain and angst, but also hope, painting the pages. Allison J. Kennedy did a great job of creating two amazing characters, May, our protagonist, and Alex, a new friend of May’s who helps her deal with her pain. Both of the characters are well rounded, and I’m so glad that they’re able to be there for each other throughout the novel.

do have a few criticisms, mainly of the other characters. We don’t really understand much about May’s mother as an actual person until near the end on the novel, when she and May have a talk. Grace, May’s little sister, is very similar to their mother, and she’s a bit unlikable because of how little she’s characterized. May’s friends, Addison and Danika, are pretty much just the supportive friends, but they do drive the plot forward, each in their own ways. Danika leads May to pain, and in the end, Addison leads her (partially) from it.

Back to the plot, there was actually one moment in the book that had me EXTREMELY happy, even with the awful things going on in May’s life. I’m sure that when you get to that point, you’ll get know why I I felt the way I did. I don’t want to give it away, but that simple line was enough to make everything a little better.

Now, be warned, this book isn’t for everyone. There are difficult subjects in this, such as rape and other potentially triggering subjects. Still, I feel that even survivors of such traumas could find light in this book, especially in the last few chapters, in which you see the turnaround for the better in May’s life. The last chapter, and the ending specifically, was especially empowering.

All in all, this was a harrowing, powerful read that I feel that a lot of people need to read. This isn’t a read just for girls, either. I feel that guys should also read this, so that they can understand that the choices they make in regards to sexual assault can have a huge effect on someone else’s life. This book is called The Choice, and shows just how crucial the choices we make in life can be.

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