Book Review: Seeing Julia by Katherine Owen

PPFF Rating: 5/5 Stars
Not angsty but an emotional read (if that even makes a difference).

goodreads blurb:

I’ve been here before. I’ve done this before. At sixteen, I
buried my parents. At twenty-three, my fiancé Bobby. And now, almost four years later, my husband Evan. I’m here again in the after. Here’s what I know: death abducts the dying, but grief steals from those left
behind.

Tragedy. Heartbreak. A decade of loss defines her, but an illicit connection to a stranger saves her, yet leaves her questioning her past, her life, and herself, most of all.

When she’s at the precipice of her life, looking over the edge and seeing nothing, he saves her from herself. The connection between them stirs something inside that Julia thought she had lost long ago. Still, she questions her ability to start over and wonders if she can move on if it means letting go of her past–a past that seemingly still defines her.

Owen’s award-winning debut novel, Seeing Julia, is intense heartbreak that ultimately captivates.

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Here’s what I know: death abducts the dying, but grief steals from those left behind.

The thing is, I’ve been trying to stay away from the whole New Adult genre which is why I’ve been reading a lot of Romantic Suspense lately. The former has become so much predictable, what with all the f**ked up characters and rollercoaster of emotions, not that I don’t like reading them, usually. Anyway, a good read is a good read so it primarily doesn’t matter much what genre a book is but it does make a whole world of difference when a story is so well-written. And this book is definitely that – beautifully written, that is – and so much more.

Granted, I do think the circumstances of the story are quite unbelievable, and I mean that in the literal sense. But then again, somehow, I do believe in the whole concept of the book. It’s heartbreaking, the characters are captivating, and Katherine Owen‘s words so haunting. It’s also quite a lengthy book and normally, I’d either feel frustrated or annoyed at all the angsty push-and-pull dance thing going on but with Seeing Julia, I appreciated all the emotional upheaval that it has caused me to feel.

The pain is too much, the loss too great. There is no more before, and the after is too devastating. There isn’t enough of me left to go on. Grief has stolen too much of me now.

Right from the start, I can’t help but root for Julia. She’s lost her parents, her fiance (Bobby) and her husband (Evan) and to think she’s only 27. With the help of her inner circle and her one-year-old son, she tries to move forward with her life, to learn how to trust, be happy and love again. And there’s a cute little twist to the story… 🙂

The writing is gut-wrenching and oh so beautiful and they don’t sound superfluous at all. In retrospect, I don’t really mind how cliche and predictable NA books are but with most of them, I would usually get the feeling that the angst elements are too forced and drawn out that I’d end up rolling my eyes at how much of a fluff they actually are. Thus, my love/hate, hit or miss reaction to the genre.

And, here’s what I know: I’m not drowning anymore. I can’t see my island; he’s gone forever from me now, but I’m standing on life’s shore again. I am here.

What I love most about this book is that it made me feel so much. If I was the crying type, I would have cried a few times (for the record, I think the last book that made me really cry was Nicholas Sparks‘s Message in a Bottle and that was ages ago), I laughed at the few precious lighthearted moments, and I was also jealous of Julia’s inner circle of friends – how much they gave importance to their friendship and how loyal they were to one another. But surprisingly, although I was sad and affected, I never felt depressed. I guess the book still had a way of making me feel hopeful even after every devastating thing that happened. Brilliant writing, I’m telling you.

There was before. And, there was after.

A lot of people might hesitate to read this story, maybe fearing that it would be too heavy but I promise, the emotional journey is absolutely worth it. 😉

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