Book Review: Love, Lucas

Love, Lucas
Published By: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Page Count: 288
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary

Love, Lucas is a heart wrenching story about Oakley who is grieving over the death of her best friend and big brother to cancer. Shortly after his death, Oakley & her mother go to visit Aunt Jo in Huntington Beach, CA for a change of scenery. Both are hoping it will help them deal with Lucas's death. 

 Shortly after arriving, Oakley's mother gives her a notebook of letters from Lucas. He wrote them to he towards the end of his life, giving her advice and words of wisdom. For Oakley, they are a blessing, but also a reminder of the tragic events of her brother's death. 

Oakley loves to take photographs. On one of her first days there, she goes out to the beach with her camera. There she meets Carson. He is the ultimate surfer and southern California boy. Carson also happens to live next door to Aunt Jo. He is able to connect with Oakley in a way no one else in her family has been able to do. But the walls Oakley has built around herself since Lucas's death are tall and strong. It's going to take a lot for Carson to be able to tear them down. 

 Oakley also meets other people while in Huntington Beach, but Carson's friend Dillon is the only one who we really see again in the book. I would like to have seen Dillon's character built up a bit more. It seems like we don't know much about him given the impact he has on Oakley. 

 Hearing about the divorce of Oakley's parents was not a shock either, but their behavior was a bit odd at times. That is another dynamic I would like to have seen explored more in depth in the story. This book really focused on Oakley and Carson, with a minor role for Lucas through his letters. 

 My husband and I were in Huntington Beach about 18 months ago so I could totally picture where this story would have taken place. My emotions went through the wringer while reading this book and I was not expecting that at all. 

 There were a few times that I got annoyed with Oakley's behavior, but I had to remind myself that she is a 17 year old girl who is dealing with the recent death of her brother, her parents' divorce, and her "first love". That's kind of a lot for this poor girl! I would have been an emotional wreck too. 

 This was a wonderful book that I thoroughly enjoyed. It would be a great beach read!

A powerful story of loss, second chances, and first love, reminiscent of Sarah Dessen and John Green.

When Oakley Nelson loses her older brother, Lucas, to cancer, she thinks she’ll never recover. Between her parents’ arguing and the battle she’s fighting with depression, she feels nothing inside but a hollow emptiness. When Mom suggests they spend a few months in California with Aunt Jo, Oakley isn’t sure a change of scenery will alter anything, but she’s willing to give it a try.

In California, Oakley discovers a sort of safety and freedom in Aunt Jo’s beach house. Once they’re settled, Mom hands her a notebook full of letters addressed to her—from Lucas. As Oakley reads one each day, she realizes how much he loved her, and each letter challenges her to be better and to continue to enjoy her life. He wants her to move on.

If only it were that easy.

But then a surfer named Carson comes into her life, and Oakley is blindsided. He makes her feel again. As she lets him in, she is surprised by how much she cares for him, and that’s when things get complicated. How can she fall in love and be happy when Lucas never got the chance to do those very same things?

With her brother’s dying words as guidance, Oakley knows she must learn to listen and trust again. But will she have to leave the past behind to find happiness in the future?