TITLE: But Then I Came Back
AUTHOR: Estelle Laure
TRIGGER WARNING: Coma, Near Death Experience
WHERE DID I RECEIVE THIS?: HachetteNZ sent me this as a review copy
“Stay” the Blue says, like I’m a naughty puppy “You’ve got people here, Lucky girl”
Eden: As far as coma patients go, Eden’s lucky. She woke up. But still, she can’t shake the feeling that she might have dragged something back from the near-afterlife.
Joe: Joe visits the hospital every day, hoping that Jaz, his lifelong friend, will wake up. More than anything, he wants to hear her voice again. But he’s not sure anyone can reach her.
Eden & Joe: Even though she knows it sounds crazy, Eden tells Joe that they might be able to talk to Jaz. Opening themselves up to the great unknown—and each other—Eden and Joe experience life: mysterious and scary, beautiful and bright.
I always thought I wasn’t much of a YA Contemporary fan, however this book might have changed my mind. Estelle Laure paints a realistic character in Eden & shows the heartbreaking trauma that going through a near death experience can cause for a person, and she does it well. Often I’ve seen authors speed over the recovery process to get to the romance in these kinds of stories, and I honestly hate that. Being somebody who spent three months recovering from a massive injury myself, it’s always unrealistic when they rush the recovery because it’s such a long process, and this book shows the process of recovery beautifully.
We first meet Eden when she has her accident, we see a girl who knows what she wants with her life and who she is, but when she wakes up, shes practically someone else. While for me, I’ve never had that life altering moment, I can totally understand why someone might after a coma. Eden quickly learns how unsure she is about college and dance, and life in general. She doesn’t know what she wants. And then she meets Joe, of course, a contemporary cant be a contemporary without a love interest. Joe is constantly visiting the hospital to see his friend, Jaz who is in a coma herself and Eden finds herself often day dreaming about who they might be, before she finally meets him and starts to fall in love.
The main thing I want to talk about is the focus on recovery in this book, because I truly applaud Estelle for focusing so much on it. We see moments of frustration in Eden, when shes starting to walk again, we see her going to therapy and, therapy actually helping! (yippie!! a positive outlook on therapy!!) We see her slowly learning who she was and what she loved, and coming to terms with the changes in her life, and how to handle all these new emotions.
I personally felt like the process of her recovery was ongoing, it wasn’t until the last 100 pages that Eden really grew back into herself, that she no longer needed therapy, and had begun the process of dancing again. All while trying to figure out her life and falling in love and I’m honestly happy to say that the romance felt like it was on the back burner with this one? Her & Joe we’re obviously in love, but they had other priorities, Joe had Jaz and Eden had her recovery to think of, and that felt right to me.
The characters and story felt real and once I really got into this book? I genuinely loved it.
This book was released on the 11th of this month so go to your local bookstore and pick it up ASAP!
Until next time,