Friday, September 12, 2014

Review: Bright Side by Kim Holden

Everyone has one.
Some are bigger than others.
And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you ...
And some will end you.

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks.

They both feel it.
But they each have a reason to fight it.
They each have a secret.

And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.

5 Unforgettable Stars!
Review by Jen Hagen


Best book of the year.  Did I even read any other books this year?  I can’t remember…Bright Side is clouding over any other book I have read this year.   I want to be one of the lucky ones Kate calls a friend.  She is bad ass, and funny, and loving, and caring, and…and…the list goes on and on.   Kate hasn’t had an easy life.  Her father walked out leaving Kate with a depressed mother and an older sister that required constant care. It never gets easier for Kate; in fact, it becomes an even more of a brutal reality when her mother commits suicide and leaves Kate with the financial burdens.  That’s okay…Kate always finds a way to look at the bright side.  Kate and her sister rent a garage and call it their apartment.  Every night they open up the big door and watch the sun meeting the horizon.


 “It’s showtime.”


Kate is a gifted musician.  She and her best friend, Gus, have a beautiful friendship.  Gus and his mother have provided family stability and unconditional love throughout Kate’s young life.  Every single day with every single phone call words of “I love you” are told.  There is no doubt that these two love each other with everything that they have.  There is nothing that can force its way between them, not even a move from California to Minnesota where Kate is attending college.  Gus is heading out on tour with his band.  He is living his dream of being a rock star on tour but yet keeping his life grounded, not giving in to the hype. 


Kate enjoys the simple things in life.  She gets a bi-yearly haircut, doesn’t own a blow dryer or curling iron,  and she LOVES straight black coffee.  She may be on her last dollar but she will spend it wisely on a good cup of joe.   She discovers a little hole in the wall coffee shop that employs gorgeous Keller.   Keller and Kate immediately start off with flirting banter. 


Holy hell, is it bad that I innocently walk in for a cup of coffee and walk out wondering what the guy behind the counter looks like naked?


Keller comes from a wealthy family but lives on his own dime.  There’s something odd about him though because he works two jobs but yet never seems to have any money.  Where is that money going and why does he make 2 trips a month back home to Chicago?  Keller is strictly a black on white kind of a guy.  He doesn’t see outside the box and lives his life by the rules. 


Kate can make anybody step out of their comfort zone.  She is that charismatic.  Kate wants everybody to experience life in the moment with no regrets.  She wants everybody to face their fears and look it straight in the eye. 


“Be brave.” 


Keller is holding back a large part of his life, and Kate has a secret of her own.  Both of them need to find the right time to divulge what force is shaping their life – Keller living by the rules for a guaranteed future, and Kate living in the moment with no regrets.  Along the way Kate discovers what she didn’t want…love.  Kate is lucky enough to experience being loved exponentially by both Gus and Kellar, but even that isn’t enough to change her future. 

“It feels like someone is twisting the knife only to pull it out and plunge it back in again.  Over and over.”


I loved reading Kate’s inner dialogue and her silent proclamations to God.  The book is written in daily entries so we get to see a lot of Kate’s thoughts and words.  She is fearless and will stand up to anybody who gets in her way.  She is somebody that you want in your corner, and Kate manages to sense when the underdog needs a good friend.  She knows just the right thing to say and what to do in any circumstance.  And her words of advice to anybody who is taking on a challenge…


“Do epic”…not just be epic. 


Believe me when I say the emotional hangover after completing this book fit right in the theme…it was of epic proportions.  The author certainly completed the task when it came to do epic.  She went from me laughing so hard I couldn’t catch my breath at Kate’s driving and her friends’ reactions to it, to crying my eyes out at all the declarations of down-to-your-bones love.  The story is not just about Kate/Gus/Keller, but all the secondary characters play a huge part in this story.   I think this was the longest it took me to read an e-book.  I needed to savor every single word of the story because I knew when I was done there was no way I would ever find another story written this beautiful again.  I am a re-reader, but this is one book that I feel like I have memorized in one reading and will not go back to again.  Judging from the author’s list of upcoming releases, I am pleased to see that Gus will be getting his own story.  That will be another epic book.  I will put my big-girl panties on and embrace it in true Kate style without any fears.   If you are still on the fence about putting yourself out there to read this beautiful story, I will leave you with one more of Kate’s profound life statements…


“Now come on…put your big boy pants on and let’s f*cking do this.”



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