Released tomorrow May 27th 2021 by Mantle Books I’m delighted to share with you today, my review for this heart-warming and honest novel
A heart stops. Their story starts.
‘A sweeping, brave, epic love story. I was hooked from the very first page’ – Josie Silver
Sometimes saving a life is only the start of the story . . .
It’s nearly midnight on the eve of the millennium when eighteen-year-old Joel’s heart stops. A school friend, Kerry, performs CPR for almost twenty exhausting minutes, ultimately saving Joel’s life, while her best friend Tim freezes, unable to help.
That moment of life and death changes the course of all three lives over the next two decades: each time Kerry, Joel and Tim believe they’ve found love, discovered their vocation, or simply moved on, their lives collide again.
. . . Because bravery isn’t just about life or death decisions; it’s also about how to keep on living afterwards.
No one can ever tell how they may react in a crisis but this is exactly what teenage St John’s Cadets Kerry and Tim find out one New Years Eve in 1999. At a party the A level students, who have been close friends for years, watch as golden boy Joel, fit, heathy, gorgeous Joel, destined for the premier league, falls to the ground and has a cardiac arrest. Kerry rushes over and immediately uses her training and starts to perform CPR whilst onlookers call for an ambulance. Tim….freezes….for 18 whole minutes.
The story follows these 3 teenagers over the next 20 years as we see how their lives are affected by this and other elements and decisions they make about their futures.
I enjoyed reading this book. I found the characters likable and believable and the story was a heart warming, easy one to follow but which also touches on serious matters like mental health, drugs, expectations of others and caring for a sick parent. The author writes of how the two teenagers, who are both planning on studying medicine at university, deal with the events of that New Years Eve, and how the aftermath along with things already happening in their lives impacts on the decisions they then go on to make. We also read of the impact and mental and physical changes this has on Joel, which I thought was especially well done and researched.
The characters move in and out of each others lives over the course of the next 20 years as it mainly focuses on their love life, relationships, career and mental health.
I really liked the way the author combined this heart warming tale of young lives, with the subject matter of life after cardiac arrest. I felt the author had researched the topic well or had indeed personal experience of it and found the parts of the story which addressed recovery, physical, mental and emotional impact very interesting.
The chapters are written from the different perspectives of each of the main 3 characters and also headed with the year it is based in. There were some nice touches of dropping in key news events from the time and also the inclusion of A Guide to the Chain of Survival. I found the way life within a hospital was written very believable and enjoyed the parts showing the hierarchy within hospital’s for staff and trainees that exists. I particularly liked the character of Kerry and was eager to see her life turn out for the best for her. There are a number of smaller characters which add nicely to the story and found I it an enjoyable, interesting quick read.
Many thanks to the publishers for my advanced copy via NetGalley.