Book Review: Laurel Everywhere

Erin Moynihan

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

published: 10th November 2020
spoilers? not ones that aren’t also in blurb


Severe loss. For Laurel Summers, those two words don’t cut it. They don’t even come close. After a car wreck kills her mother and siblings, the ghosts of her family surround her as she wrestles with grief, anger, and the fear that she won’t be enough to keep her dad alive either.

Fifteen-year-old Laurel Summers couldn’t tell you the last words she spoke to her mother and siblings if her life depended on it. But she will never forget the image of her mother’s mangled green car on the freeway, shattering the boring world Laurel had been so desperate to escape. Now she can’t stop seeing the ghosts of her family members, which haunt her with memories of how life used to be back when her biggest problem was the kiss she shared with her best friend Hanna.

After the accident, Laurel and her dad are left to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. Her dad is struggling with his grief and depression, unable to cope with the loss of his family. He seeks a way out of his pain, leaving Laurel behind while he struggles to cope with his own mental illness. She is desperate to find a way to hold everything together again and help her father come to terms with the loss so he can come back to her.

Laurel tries to make sense of her pain with the help of her grandparents, her two best friends, and some random strangers. As she struggles to understand who she is without her family, she must come to terms with the items on her List of Things Not to Talk About, learn to trust her dad again, and—on top of it all—keep her heart open to love in the wake of her immense loss, eventually learning that it’s okay to not be okay.

Maybe Dad and I will never be the same again and maybe that’s OK, because we’ll create a new normal and I’ll get mad at him for leaving me sometimes and he’ll apologize a lot and maybe we’ll never get over it, but we’ll move on, somehow.

Galley provided by publisher

CWs: family death, discussions of grief, attempted suicides of side character (inc. overdose)

This is, in all honesty, a book which suffered because of the mood I was in, reading it. At that point, I was in the kind of slump where, no matter what you pick up, none of it grabs you. So, while this book did grow on me, I think it would have benefitted if I’d read it at another time.

If you like books like Saving Francesca or Words in Deep Blue — books that talk about loss and grief, essentially — then this book is one you will definitely not want to miss.

Laurel Everywhere follows Laurel, who has just lost her mother and two siblings in a car crash, and who, along with her father, is struggling to cope. The story tracks them (though primarily Laurel) as they start to come to terms with their loss, with the help of friends and family.

As I said, I read this book at the wrong time, because any other time and I would have liked it a lot more. It’s well-written and almost made me cry a good few times. And yet.

It’s not like I had massive issues with the book. Yes, occasionally Laurel felt a little selfish, but that’s to be expected. She is grieving after all. Genuinely about the only thing I could actually point at as being an issue was the fact that the book doesn’t use the word lesbian. It doesn’t use labels at all, in fact, so I guess that’s some kind of equality. But Laurel doesn’t like boys, says “I like girls” at least once, you would think I could get a mention of the word, right? Not so.

But then, that’s a trend in YA contemporary lit.

So, really, all I have to say is, if the premise of this book appeals to you, do ignore my rating and pick it up for yourself. You won’t regret it.

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