Have you read a book that you literally held your breath because you didn’t have a clue how it was going to work out between the hero and heroine? Yes, When It’s Least Expected is that book and I don’t think I’m really breathing now. My heart is still racing. My pulse is still erratic, too.
Ms. Van Fleet has not only written brilliant YA novel but it’s also her debut. I’m in awe of her now. She managed not to make the characters angsty or stupid. Harley and Mason were real characters. Teenagers with real deep-rooted problems stemming from personal tragedies that defined who they were as a person. She also tackled subject matter that wasn’t that easy to read either. Teenage suicide, the death of parent, teenage drinking and the consequences, depression, severe anxiety attacks, and a sibling that is in a wheelchair. See what I mean? Lots going on but then there’s not. Ms. Van Fleet manages to make it realistic and not sappy or even worse a plot device. Harley and Mason are wounded but they are still good people. Their problems are more internalized than they realize.
I felt immediately connected with Harley and Mason, too. They are easy characters to know and to love. I’m going to go in and tell you what their problems are because that’s part of the novel and I would be “spoiling” it for you but I will give you this tidbit…Harley’s twin brother is part of her problem. She feels extreme guilt over his losing part of his leg. Yep, its bad but how Ms. Van Fleet deals with the aftermath is both touching and heartfelt in the end.
I’m really not sure how to end this review. I’m really at a loss for words. Shocking, I know. Its one of those novels that you want to talk about but if you start talking about all the little things that are going on in the book, it spoils it for other people. Don’t except a lot of sex either. Yes, it’s there but its closed-door. Okay…Harley does kinda freak out when she finds out how many Mason has slept with in his young life and its a hoot.
I will say this…don’t expect to read about the mean girls, the class bully (even though there is a creepy guy but Harley takes care of it :) ) or parents that don’t care and understand their kids. They do but in different ways. Plus, their friends play a large part in their growing up process and helping one another figure out if this is truly love or not. Abigail is a hoot with Harley but her claws do come out when needed. Just wish that David… Oops almost a spoiler but waiting on bated breath for that story. :)
All in all, this is one hell of a GREAT book. Characters that are realistic with problems that have no easy fixes. Both needed time apart from each other to found out if they truly belonged together and WHY the belonged together. *sigh*
Again, I’m still in the fetal position but the breathing thing has leveled off.