‘I got this whole-body feeling . . . it was like a message from future me to present me, telling me that in some way we weren’t just bound to happen, that we had, in some sense, already happened. It felt . . . inevitable.’
So far, the inevitable hasn’t worked out so well for Aaron Stein.
While his friends have gone to college and moved on with their lives, Aaron’s been left behind in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State, running a failing bookshop with his dad, Ira. What he needs is a lucky break, the good kind of inevitable.
And then he meets Hannah. Incredible Hannah – magical, musical, brave and clever. Could she be the answer? And could they – their relationship, their meeting – possibly be the inevitable Aaron’s been waiting for?
***Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Australia for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided.
enjoyable/easy to read:
We Are Inevitable is a well-written story of grief and addiction. Each character we meet seems to be experiencing one or the other, and it presents in diverse ways to make clear that not everyone expresses or processes their emotions in the same way. The blurb for this book is very misleading, though; there is a bit of a YA love story here, but the book is much more about family, friendship, and finding yourself.
Aaron is an incredibly toxic protagonist from the very beginning. He lies to the people he loves, pushes everyone away, and keeps huge, life-shattering secrets. He does this while holding a grudge against his drug-addicted brother for doing all of the same things. Aaron tells himself that he does these things to protect the people around him, so he is definitely a good person and must be in the right all the time. He’s abrasive and rude to those around him, often snapping and starting fights over inane comments or friendly overtures because he’s convinced everyone has an ulterior motive. I understand why Aaron is written this way, and it becomes clearer as the story progresses, but it made it a difficult read for at least the first half of the book.
I had a very difficult time wrapping my head around not wanting to own a bookstore (what’s wrong with you?!) but everything else felt very realistic. This book is worth reading to get to know Chad and the Lumberjacks who breathe life back into the bookstore and provide a lot of needed lightness to the narrative which can be very melancholic, but there are also a lot of difficult and important topics addressed with refreshing honesty.
Ira believes books are miracles. "Twenty-six letters," he used to tell me as I sat on his lap, looking at picture books about sibling badgers or hungry caterpillars while he read some biography of LBJ or a volume of poetry by Matthea Harvey. "Twenty-six letters and some punctuation marks and you have infinite words in infinite worlds." He'd gesture at my book, at his book, at all the books in the shop. "How is that not a miracle?"